David E. Metzler, 89, of Ames, passed away peacefully Thursday, September 26, 2013 at Green Hills Retirement Community in Ames, Iowa. David was born in Palo Alto, California on August 12, 1924 to David Russell and Sadie Metzler. The family moved to Fresno, CA when he was a year old where he spent the rest of his youth. David remembered many happy times in the Sierra Nevada Mountains with his family which were the beginning of his lifelong love of nature and camping. After graduating from Fresno High School he pursued a degree in Chemistry at the California Institute of Technology. His studies were interrupted by mandatory Civilian Public Service because he was a conscientious objector during World War II. During this time he fought forest fires in Nevada and later worked as an analytical chemist for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Bowie, Maryland. After his service he completed his Bachelor of Science Degree at Cal Tech.
David left his beloved mountains to study at the University of Wisconsin, Madison where he earned his doctorate degree in Biochemistry under Esmond Snell in 1952. During his time in Wisconsin, David returned to California to marry Elizabeth Heron in 1948 and they later divorced. After a year as a Postdoctoral Associate at the University of Texas he joined the faculty at Iowa State University in 1953. For six months in 1965 David was an exchange visitor of the National Academy of Sciences, USA to the Institute of Molecular Biology of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR, Moscow. This would be the beginning of his international research collaborations that would extend to scientists in Japan and other countries.
His major research efforts were directed toward the mechanisms by which enzymes and coenzymes participate in catalysis in the body, specifically those reactions that depend upon thiamine, riboflavin and vitamin B6. His wife, Carol, worked in his laboratory for 28 years and between the two of them preformed and supervised many research projects. David authored or co-authored over 120 research papers and review articles and over 50 abstracts. He was the translation editor or editor for several other books within his field. He was the recipient of a John Guggenheim Fellowship Award in 1971 -72 during which he started work on the first edition of his textbook. In 1977, he published "Biochemistry: The Chemical Reactions of Living Cells," which was translated into Japanese, Russian and Spanish. David married Carol Harris in 1978 after having worked together for many years. David wrote the second edition of his textbook in association with Carol that included two volumes and was published in 2003. It surpassed the first edition and become the reference book for biochemists.
David's contribution to the field of biochemistry was unquestionable being recognized both nationally and internationally presenting his research at numerous conferences. He was a 50-Year member of the American Chemical Society. He was awarded the Distinguished Professorship in Sciences and Humanities in 1986 by Iowa State. David was honored on his 65th birthday by his former students and colleagues with a special scientific symposium in Ames in September 1989. He was also an educator, serving as the major advisor to nearly sixty MS and Ph. D students as well as numerous post-doctoral fellows. He believed in introducing students to research as soon as possible so there were always undergraduate students working in his laboratory.
Even though David was dedicated to biochemistry he also made time for his family. David and Carol had date nights (when they tried not to talk biochemistry or children) and many activities which included the children or the children's school and sport events. He tended a dozen flower gardens as well as a sizeable vegetable garden. David led his family on many camping and hiking adventures all across the country but the best were those back to his California mountains. He enjoyed singing and was a member of the Ames Choral Society for many years. Dancing was very important to David: folk and ballroom dancing with his wife, Carol. He found time for political activism for equality and peace, working for candidates who shared his beliefs. He supported organizations that worked to improve the lives of children worldwide and to preserve the environment for future generations. David had a big heart that included everyone.
David is survived by his wife, Carol and their children, Shanda Metzler of Ames, Tony (Sandra) Harris of Munich, Germany and Cindy Harris (James Yeatts) of Ankeny. He is survived by his sons Thomas (Barbara) Metzler of Glendale, California, Mark (Irina) Metzler of Stockton, California, Michael (Jacque) Metzler of St. Louis and Daniel (Melissa) Metzler of Tacoma, Washington; eleven grandchildren: Leah, Julia, Sophia, and Isaac Metzler; Elizabeth, Julia and Henry Harris; Hunter and Mason Yeatts; and Jaleesia and KiYana Carter. David is also survived by his sister, Margaret Hudson of Fresno, California, two nieces and three nephews and their families. David is preceded in death by his daughter Susan Metzler, grandson Tyler Everett Metzler and his sister, Elizabeth Boehn.
A memorial service will be held at Stevens Memorial Chapel, 607 28th Street in Ames at 2 pm on Saturday, October 5 with an hour of visitation prior and a time of socializing following. As a show of sympathy the family suggests memorial contributions be directed to the
or the Iowa Wildlife Federation. On-line condolences may be expressed at www.StevensMemorialChapel.com.