In memory of
age 91, Roger Woodham Jelliffe, a cardiologist and Professor of Medicine who pioneered the field of Pharmacokinetics, died June 22 in Pasadena, CA. Born February 18, 1929, in Cleveland to Rowena and Russell Jelliffe, founders of Karamu House, he attended University School, graduated from Harvard in 1950, then obtained his M.D. from Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. There he met Joyce Miller, married in 1954, and they eventually made their home and raised four children in Pasadena, CA, after USC recruited Roger to its Department of Medicine. Roger developed the earliest computer software for individualizing drug dosage. He aimed to develop optimally precise individualized drug dosage regimens for patient care involving potentially toxic drugs with narrow therapeutic margins of safety. He founded the USC Laboratory of Applied Pharmacokinetics in 1973. Over the course of his sixty-year career, he authored and collaborated on hundreds of peer reviewed publications. He mentored over 100 visiting scientific scholars from around the world. A recipient of the Research Achievement Award from the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists in 1997, Roger was honored in 2019 by the American Academy of Clinical Pharmacology when an award was established in recognition of his lifetime achievement. Roger had an expansive personality and infectious zest for life. He played classical and folk guitar, to which his family fondly sang along. An accomplished pianist, he could break or soothe hearts with his powerful rendering of "Danny Boy". On July 4 he would place giant speakers in the windows of his house to blast Sousa marches outdoors and dance polkas on the front lawn with his daughters. Roger was a polymath who had an insatiable appetite for learning and savored the richness of diverse cultures; he took Spanish classes at the local city college, listened to Russian and Arabic language tapes in his minivan, and treasured close friends and colleagues from Caracas to Penang. He was acutely concerned for the fate of social justice in the US. He is survived by his wife of 66 years, Joyce Evelyn Miller Jelliffe, their four children, and five grandchildren: Susan Jelliffe Meloy (Lindsay Claire Meloy and Daniel Russell Meloy); Amy Ward Jelliffe married to Alexis Hubbard Johnson (Sam Winslow Jelliffe Johnson and Emily Kate Jelliffe Johnson), Elizabeth Hitchcock Jelliffe Messinger (Ren Pelissier Jelliffe Messinger), and Peter Stuart Jelliffe. Donations in Roger's memory may be made to Karamu House in Cleveland, OH.
View Full Obituary ›