To the Editor:
On March 28, this community lost a wonderful person. I knew Leroy Stevens basically for a lifetime; his kids were my childhood friends. I spent many weekends at the Stevens’ camp at Flanders Pond listening to Roy’s stories about spooks or about being behind enemy lines in World War II. Later, when I took some time off from college, Dr. Stevens invited me to work with him at the Jackson Lab, where he both taught me how to be a scientist and inspired me to creative learning in general.
Roy’s work in the field of embryology was foundational for transgenic techniques that are indispensable today. He was, I think, a scientist in the best sense – curious about everything and a lover of all aspects of nature and the animals he studied.
“To be a good genetics researcher,” he once said, you have to like the mice!”
Roy had a wonderful sense of humor as well. More than 20 years ago now, he suffered a major hemorrhagic stroke, after which he managed, thanks to the efforts of his children, to regain language and the ability to read. He was still enjoying trips to Central America each year with his family until he was over age 90.
Stevens was, other than my own parents, probably the person who inspired me the most in my career. He was a person whom I will always admire for all the reasons I have mentioned, and most of all, for his kind heart and his love of life.