Bascardi, T. (1997, October 3). In Memorium: Merv Kamran. Lionís Voice, p. 1.

In Memorium: Merv Kamran

by Tony Biscardi

Dr. Mervyn Kamran, universally beloved Professor of Biology, gentleman and scholar, died in his home on Saturday after a three-month illness described as a “rare viral brain condition.” He was 58 years old and had taught at Dowling for nearly thirty years. His funeral was held on Sunday, September 28, at St. James Episcopal Church in Brook Haven, followed by his cremation. Dr. Kamran is survived by his daughter, Anneliese, and his son, Peter, both graduate students at Dowling. They plan to spread his ashes on Hawk Mountain in Pennsylvania where he enjoyed taking his classes to study the migration of hawks.

Dr. Kamran received his Bachelor’s Degree from Forman Christian College in Pakistan, his Master’s Degree from the University of Punjab, and his Ph. D. in entomology from the University of Hawaii. He worked at the Rice Institute in the Philippines in the 1960′s where he developed drought and insect resistant strains of rice. According to Stephen Shafer, professor of biology, “he was a well known researcher in entomology and known for his extensive, worldwide background in research activity. Through his research, he studied the population explosion of the gypsy moth on Long Island. This study was an attempt to understand the reason for the population explosion and to come up with ideas on how this problem could be eradicated.”

According to family and friends, Dr. Kamran was extremely enthusiastic when it came to work and scholastics. “He was a workaholic and very proud of being a professor at Dowling. He always had a smile on his face,” said Annaliese. According to Ashkant Nimbark, Professor of Sociology, “good friends share storytelling and experiences. These things make life worthwhile.”

At a memorial service in the Hunt room on September 30, Dr. Kamran who’s given name means “Jewel of God” was eulogized by friends and family who expressed their deepest and fondest memories. Dr. Shafer, a close friend for over 24 years, said, “he had an infectious smile that was equal to none. It was such a warm feeling when he smiled that one could tell he was genuine. He was the epitome of a gentleman and a scholar. His teachings were very important and he had a great desire to seek knowledge.”

Dr. Robert Youth, professor of psychology, said “Dr. Kamran was one of the most decent human beings I ever met in my life. He had a lot of dignity, class, and was much fun to be with.” Janet Hovnanian, a close companion for many years, expressed the same sentiment as Youth. “He was the sweetest, most gentlest man I knew. I didn’t know any person who didn’t like him.”

Dr. Moeller, professor of Biology, who attended the University of Hawaii with Dr. Kamran, commented on his impeccable appearance. “He always looked and acted like an English gentleman.”

Although a definitive cause of death has not yet been determined, according to Shafer, “the tentative diagnosis is Creutesld-Jacob disease which affects the brain in a way similar to Alzheimer’s. Brain tissue was donated to a research team in at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital to gain further insight into this disease.”

During his final days, Dr. Kamran said that he wanted to make sure that his children were taken care of. He was according to Shafer, “a very dedicated father and devoted to his children.”

Do you have information to add? Then please contact Diane Holliday.

Last Modified on February 01, 2012, at 09:56 AM by LPR

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