In Memoriam of Dan Morton

Dan MortonDr. Daniel Morton, 59, died September 30, 2015 in Columbus, Ohio following a long battle with squamous cell carcinoma of the throat and larynx. Dan met the challenge of his disease with courage and determination. Although he underwent surgery removing his larynx and part of his tongue in 2011, he learned to speak again with the use of a tracheoesophageal puncture valve. Throughout a 3-year period after his surgery, where he seemed to be cancer-free, Dan continued to work and to contribute extensively to his profession. Sadly, Dan’s cancer recurred at the beginning of 2015, and despite two different chemotherapeutic regimens his condition progressively declined.

Dan was a preeminent toxicologic and veterinary pathologist and laboratory animal veterinarian with a distinguished career marked by significant scientific contributions, a lasting global influence on drug safety assessment and, especially, a life-long service to the American College of Veterinary Pathologists (ACVP), the American College of Laboratory Animal Medicine (ACLAM), and the Society of Toxicologic Pathologists (STP). In 2003 Dr. Morton joined Pfizer following its acquisition of Pharmacia, moving to the Pfizer site in Groton Connecticut and subsequently to the Cambridge (afterwards Andover) sites in Massachusetts. He served as an Associate Research Fellow and a Research Fellow at Pfizer. He received many awards and recognition throughout his career. In 2014 he received STP’s Lifetime Achievement Award for his many contributions both to the organization and to the advancement of toxicologic pathology. In 2015 he was selected as a Distinguished Member of the ACVP. These last two awards are the highest awards given by these two professional organizations.

Dan’s most lasting contributions to his profession lie in his vision, his relentless pursuit of what he believed to be right, his challenge of the status quo, and his mentorship of those who worked with him. Dan was the epitome of the quiet leader: he led not through the force of his ego but by his thoughts and actions. He elevated the people around him, gave credit for successes rather than taking it, and accepted personal responsibility instead of directing blame at others. His effective leadership was influenced by his intelligence, kindness, integrity and ability to generate consensus. Dan helped to guide a generation of toxicologic pathologists and the void that his death has left will be felt by many. Survivors include his wife of 31 years, Laura Dill Morton, and two sons, John Parker Morton and Mathew George Morton. Dan is also survived by his father, George Morton, his brother Ken (Diane) Morton, and his sister Lynne (Tom) Champitto. He was predeceased by his mother Betty Morton. He is also survived by his father- and mother-in-law Garrett (Sidney) Dill; brothers-in-law Brian (Marcie) Dill and Matt (Shannon) Dill; nieces Jenn (Miles) Hubbs and Caitlin Dill; and nephews Scott Morton, Michael Dill, Aaron Dill, and Tyler Dill. Read more about Dan »


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