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Gerson and Stephen Kegeles, Retired Faculty, Die

July 18, 2005

Two brothers, both of whom were UConn professors emeriti, died within months of each other.

Gerson Kegeles, professor emeritus of biophysics and biochemistry, died Sept. 8, 2004. He was 87.

Kegeles, who lived in New Hampshire, joined the UConn faculty in 1968. He was a longstanding member of the American Chemical Society and American Biophysical Society, and emeritus fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Science.

Born in New Haven, Kegeles earned his bachelor’s and Ph.D. degrees from Yale, where he also conducted postdoctoral research.

He served in the U.S. Army from 1941 to 1945, first in Australia and New Guinea, and then at Fort Detrick, Md., researching vaccines for anthrax and other deadly diseases.   

After World War II, he was a Rockefeller Foundation Fellow at the University of Wisconsin and a research physical chemist at the National Cancer Institute. He was also a professor of chemistry and department chair at Clark University in Worcester, Mass.

His research included electrolyte thermodynamics, electrophoresis, ultracentrifugation and diffusion of proteins, and refractometric optical methods for studying inhomogeneous media, for which he held a patent.

He was an avid mountain climber and naturalist.




Kegeles is survived by his wife of 60 years, Bertha Webber Kegeles, three daughters, and two sons.

S. Stephen Kegeles, professor emeritus of behavioral sciences and community health, died May 1. He was 79.

Kegeles was at the Health Center from 1969 to 1994, continuing as professor emeritus until 1999. He was a visiting professor at the School of Public Health at the University of California, Berkeley from 1999 to 2004.

Kegeles’ work involved wellness issues – what adults and adolescents can do to promote health and prevent illness – particularly in the areas of breast and cervical cancers, heart disease, diabetes, and dental decay. He and his colleagues formulated the Health Belief Model, which suggests why people engage in preventive behaviors.

He was a Fellow of the Academy of Behavioral Medicine and received the Distinguished Senior Scientist Award from the International Association of Dental Research.

Kegeles served in the Navy during World War II. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, in 1949, and his doctorate in psychology from Boston University in 1955. He was predeceased by his first wife Jane, to whom he was married for 50 years.

He is survived by his wife, Marilyn, six children, and four grandchildren.

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