Michael Waalkes ’75

Dr. Michael Phillip Waalkes, 68, passed away Wednesday July 27, 2022 in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Dr. Waalkes was born August 6, 1953 to the late T. Phillip and Francis Brewster Waalkes in Baltimore, MD. Dr. Waalkes received his Bachelor’s degree from Hope College in biology and chemistry in 1975 and his Ph.D. from West Virginia University in Pharmacology and Toxicology in 1981. Before retiring in 2014, he worked more than 31 years conducting cancer research with the National Institute of Health, National Cancer Institute, and National Institute of Environmental Sciences where he was a Chief and Lab Director for over 20 years. For ten years, he served as the Editor-in-Chief of the academic journal. Dr. Waalkes won numerous awards for his scientific research including the Society of Toxicology (SOT) esteemed Achievement Award and the Career Achievement Award from the SOT Metals Specialty Section. He was an accomplished and well-respected scientist who published over 300 peer-reviewed journal articles as well as serving as a featured speaker at numerous national and international meetings. He was elected to SOT Council and several other SOT positions, served as an advisor to the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) with the World Health Organization, and was a member of the EPA IRIS Toxicology Review Committee. Michael was an engaging, energetic, caring, kind and humorous person. He loved football, woodworking, building models, swimming, fishing, gardening and history. His strong Christian values guided his life choices. Mike will be remembered as a loving husband, father, brother and friend who will be deeply missed.

Mike is preceded in death by his mother, Francis Brewster Waalkes; his father, T. Phillip Waalkes; and his siblings, Kelly Waalkes Butler and Steve Waalkes.

Mike is survived by his loving wife of 45 years, Michele Conte Waalkes; sons, Phillip Waalkes ’04 (and wife Elizabeth Waalkes), Joseph Waalkes, and Thomas Waalkes ’13 (and fiancée Haley Bamborough); siblings, Richard Waalkes, Robert Waalkes, and Nancy Waalkes Hunt; numerous nieces, nephews; and loving friends and family members.

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