Dr. Ernest Hodnett, a 50-year resident of Stillwater, has died at age 99. At the time of death, he was living in Hendersonville, Tenn., where he had recently moved with his daughter, Mary Ka, (Dennis) Doro from New Berlin, Wisc.
The eldest son of five children, he was born in Hartford, Ala., but grew up in St. Petersburg, Fla. He graduated high school with high honors and attended the University of Florida where he earned his bachelor’s (chemistry) and master’s (physical chemistry) degrees. He earned his Ph.D. from Purdue University (organic chemistry) in 1945.
It was at this time that he began his teaching career at Oklahoma A&M as an assistant professor, while conducting research in radioisotopes. He became a full professor in 1957, while teaching both undergraduate and graduate students. As a professor, he conducted research in cancer chemotherapy until he retired in 1979. Even as Professor Emeritus, he continued cancer research for an additional eight years.
Additional career achievements included food chemist for the state of Florida during WWII; associate chemist at Argonne National Laboratories (radioactive compounds); radiological monitor with the U.S. Public Health Service, Mojave Desert (fallout from atomic bombs); consultant with the Monsanto Chemical Company (chemical reactions); and senior scientist with the National Institutes of Health (chemical compounds used in cancer treatment).
He treasured his dear friends in Stillwater from the First Presbyterian Church, chemistry department, neighborhood and Golden K. These memories and contacts sustained him to the end.
This kind, generous, thoughtful and loving father, friend and relative lived a wonderfully full life. He and his wife, Betty, were able to travel worldwide and enjoy their retirement years.
A memorial has been established in Dr. Hodnett’s name. Donations can be made to the Oklahoma State University Foundation, Stillwater.
As his last selfless wish, his body was donated for further medical research and organ transplantation through Genesis.
A celebration of Ernest Hodnett’s wonderful life is planned with family members in late April.