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  February 18, 2003

Hamilton Eaton, Nutritional Scientist, Dies

Hamilton D. Eaton of Storrs, professor emeritus of nutritional sciences, died Feb. 5 after a heart attack. He was 86.

Eaton joined the UConn faculty in 1947 and became a full professor in 1956. He retired in 1977.

Born in New York City, Eaton grew up in the Washington, D.C., area. He studied at Johns Hopkins University and Stanford, and completed his bachelor's degree at Iowa State College. He also earned a master's from Rutgers, and a Ph.D. from Cornell. From 1942 to 1945, he served in the U.S. Army, in Europe and Africa.

Eaton's research focused on fat soluble vitamins, especially vitamin A, and the mechanisms responsible for vitamin A deficiency and toxicity. His work had applications for both humans and animals.

Eaton published more than 125 articles in peer reviewed journals.

A former Ph.D. student, Robert Cousins, who successfully nominated him as a Fellow of the American Society for Nutritional Sciences in 1998, described him as "a meticulous research worker who emphasized exquisite experimental design and precision in all phases of his research." Cousins is now Boston Family Professor of Nutrition at the University of Florida.

"Ham Eaton gave many of us an opportunity that might not have come along without him," says Cousins. "What field I'd be in or how successful I'd be in that field without his help is not a question I even like to think about."

During 30 years of teaching at UConn, Eaton advised 50 master's students and 20 doctoral students.

Another former student, Albert Badu, says Eaton was like a father to him.

In 1987, the University established a graduate fellowship in Eaton's name.

Eaton is survived by his wife of 56 years, Eva; three children - Pamela Baafi '70, Deborah Virella '72, and Charles H. Eaton II MA '76 - and their families; and a foster son, Gary Taylor.

His daughter Pamela recalls how he used to make "local excursions into true adventures." He also, in retirement, enjoyed spending time on Lake Champlain with his grandchildren.

At Eaton's request, his body will be donated to the UConn School of Medicine.

Donations in his memory may be made to the University of Connecticut Foundation Inc., for the Hamilton D. Eaton Award for Research Excellence in Nutritional Science, 2390 Alumni Drive, Storrs, CT 06269-3206.

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