Arthur Allan Patchett, Ph.D.
Arthur Allan Patchett, Ph.D., 93, a renowned research chemist and former Vice President of Medicinal Chemistry at Merck & Co., died in New Providence, NJ on December 2nd surrounded by his family. During his career, he conducted research that led to the development of several breakthrough medicines to treat cardiovascular diseases.
Arthur was born on May 28, 1929 in Middletown, NY to Arthur and Ann Patchett. His father worked as a groundskeeper and his grandfather was an owner of the worsted mill in Montgomery, NY. From a very early age, Arthur was driven towards excellence. He was class valedictorian of Middletown High School and became the first member of his family to attend college. He majored in chemistry at Princeton University, where he graduated summa cum laude in 1951.
He continued his study of chemistry as a Fulbright Scholar at Cambridge University and later earned his Ph.D. in Chemistry from Harvard University under the direction of Nobel Laureate Professor Robert Burns Woodward in 1955.
After a two year post-doctoral fellowship with the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Arthur joined Merck in 1957 as a research chemist. His leadership of the medicinal chemistry team at Merck during the 1970s and 1980s resulted in the discoveries of Mevacor, the first statin that lowered cholesterol levels, and of Vasotec and Prinivil, two groundbreaking medicines for treating hypertension and congestive heart failure. His pioneering work in the discovery of statins has helped save millions of lives around the world.
He retired from Merck in 2000 as Vice President of Medicinal Chemistry after 44 years with the company. During the course of his career, he was an inventor on nearly 200 patents covering a broad range of research areas in medicinal chemistry and an author of 180 scientific publications.
After his retirement from Merck, he served as a consultant at Schering-Plough Research Institute and became a research advisor of the NeoGenesis Pharmaceutical Company in Cambridge, MA.
For his pivotal research, Arthur received the 2007 National Academy of Sciences Award for Chemistry in Service to Society. He was awarded the American Chemical Society's E.B. Hershenberg Award for Important Discoveries in Medicinally Active Substances, the Alfred Burger Award in Medicinal Chemistry, and the Smissan Award of the Society's Division of Medicinal Chemistry. He was inducted into the New Jersey Inventors Hall of Fame in 1990.
During his time at Merck, Arthur met the love of his life, Lois McNeil. He married Lois in 1962 and they raised two sons, Tom and Steve, in Cranford and Westfield. He was proud of his boys and always found time to participate in their activities, from Little League baseball to camp-outs with Indian Guides. Arthur was also an animal lover and considered his dachshund, Buddy, and Welsh corgi, Teddy, to be part of the family.
In his free time, Arthur worked tirelessly in his unapologetically non-organic vegetable garden, waged war with the squirrels in the backyard, and cultivated a beautiful rose garden that even strangers would admire. He spent countless hours at home listening to music and was a season ticket holder to The New York City Opera and The Metropolitan Opera for many years. One of his greatest joys was his grandchildren. He was always an engaged audience in all of their pursuits â asking about their dog, talking about video games, looking at crafts, or dressing up in crazy costumes.
Art was a devout Christian and attended weekly services at Trinity Episcopal Church in Cranford, where he had many friends. In recent years, he served as a member of the vestry.
Arthur is predeceased by his loving wife of 46 years, Lois. He is survived by his two sons, Thomas Patchett (Grace) and Steven Patchett (Kimberly); his brother Joseph Patchett; and his four grandchildren, Jennifer, Bradley, Ian, and Clare.
Visitation will be held on Wednesday, December 7 from 4-8 p.m. at Gray Funeral Home, 12 Springfield Avenue in Cranford, NJ. Funeral services will be held on Thursday, December 8 at 11 a.m. at Trinity Episcopal Church, 119 Forest Avenue in Cranford, NJ followed by a repast luncheon at The Westwood, 438 North Avenue in Garwood, NJ. The burial is private.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Trinity Episcopal Church in Cranford, NJ.