Remembering Chairman Emeritus David Galas (1944–2023)

June 2, 2023
Stephen Fantone and Robbee Baker Kosak

We are deeply saddened to inform you of the passing of chairman emeritus and esteemed Hertz Fellow David Galas. David peacefully left us on May 27 at his home on Bainbridge Island, following a courageous battle with cancer.

David was a visionary scientist, successful entrepreneur and extraordinary leader who worked tirelessly to advance science and the Hertz Foundation’s mission for more than 50 years. Even in the face of his illness, David continued to pursue his research with unwavering determination at the renowned Pacific Northwest Research Institute, where he and his team created new mathematical methods and tools to find patterns in the genetic determinants of health and disease.

Throughout his tenure on the Hertz Foundation’s board of directors and council, David’s thoughtful and compassionate leadership enriched the lives of all those who worked alongside him. He generously shared his wisdom as a Hertz Fellowship interviewer for many years and served on the board for over two decades. David’s dedication to mentoring was exemplary, as he consistently made himself available to support and guide Hertz Fellows. Alongside his wife, Diane, David also contributed as a generous financial supporter, tirelessly working to foster the growth of the Hertz Community.

David’s brilliant scientific mind and contributions extended far beyond the Hertz Foundation. His remarkable career spanned research, scientific commercialization and higher education. As an internationally recognized expert in molecular biology and human genetics, David’s discoveries led to the development of medication for osteoporosis, and his groundbreaking lab technique, known as “footprinting,” had a profound impact on the field. Furthermore, his technology formed the backbone of Abbott Labs’ rapid-response test for COVID-19. David’s exceptional work earned him numerous accolades and awards, including the Smithsonian Institution Computer World Pioneer Award, as well as a lifetime National Associate of the National Academy of Sciences. He held 20 U.S. patents and authored over 180 scientific publications.

The Hertz Community has suffered a tremendous loss, as we bid farewell to a great leader, an inspiration, a mentor and a dear friend. David always believed in the exceptional impact that each Fellow could have on science, our national security and the world. We feel honored to have had David as our colleague and friend throughout his many years of service to the Hertz Foundation, and we are deeply grateful for his tireless efforts to strengthen and inspire our vibrant community. He will be profoundly missed.

Stephen D. Fantone
Chair, Hertz Foundation Board of Directors

Robbee Baker Kosak
President, Hertz Foundation