Sanford P. Markey, Ph.D. 1942-2022.
It is with great sadness that we share the news of the death of Sandy Markey, loving husband of Carol, father of Amy (and Shane), Daniel (and Robyn), and grandfather of Ella, Zachary, and Chloe. Sandy lost his long battle with cancer on the morning of February 6, 2022.
All who met Sandy immediately felt his warmth, sincerely, and empathy and shortly afterwards discovered his clarity of thought. These qualities had a major effect on our programs at NIST both before and after his retirement from NIH nearly ten years ago. We develop reference mass spectral libraries here, but even before such a library existed, in the earliest days of the ASMS Sandy lobbied for that that organization to lead a community-based effort to construct such a resource. This reflected his long-held commitment to service and his view of science as a community-based endeavor. This idea of a library was pursued through Hank Fales at NIH, eventually leading to our program – now the NIST/EPA/NIH library, for which he played a role in throughout his career, submitting some of its earliest entries. When I visited Sandy about 20 years ago, he suggested that we build a library of peptide spectra. “Interesting idea” I said, “but what is a peptide?”. He told me and after further instruction we now have a highly developed peptide ion fragmentation library and major involvement in the field of proteomics – including current studies on the SARS-CoV-2 Spike protein and our long involvement with the NIH/NCI Clinical Proteomic Tumor Analysis Consortium program, in which Sandy played a major role. In the meantime, he co-founded the US HUPO organization using creative financing to get it started which he never divulged to me. While at NIH he sent two colleagues to NIST, Jeri Roth and Sara Yang, one of whom managed our initial proteomics program and another who still leads our tandem library software development work. With retirement from NIH in view, they convinced him to accept a 3-days-a-week appointment at NIST. Since then, Sandy has been a central figure in our quality control program and was well known here for his ready assistance to all, especially junior staff, in introducing them to the ways of doing and publishing research. He even advised us of a major animal milk resource at the National Zoo, leading to new libraries and an article in the Washington Post. I am pleased also that we linked him to one of our external evaluators, with whom his enjoyed sailing just a few years ago in, of all places, Tennessee. He was always deeply supportive of members of our group, ready to help them make the best decision. Many members of our group and in the community sorely miss him. His presence here was also a major factor in our recent recruitment of two senior NIH staff who knew him well, Lewis Geer and Douglas Slotta who had hoped to work with him for a much longer time. Sandy has left a deep imprint on the work on many at NIST and in our memories. It is great fortune to have known him. – Stephen Stein, NIST
When I think of Sandy, I think of someone who was always drawing people in. And Sandy was involved in lots of things and knew lots of people. Most recently, we have him to thank for being the motivating force behind incorporating the WBMSDG as a non-profit entity. Sandy drew on his experience and connections in founding and incorporating US HUPO to help us and guide us through the process. Even though that was recent, it feels like it was ages ago. Sandy always made it a point to be very approachable and to know everyone and to be very encouraging. – Jim Kelley, NIH
Sandy was a great mentor for the mass spectrometry community at NIH over many decades. I personally had the benefit of his presence by consulting with him at almost every step of my career advancement. He was very respected and loved by colleagues at NIH. He organized proteomics symposium at NIH in 2001 to stimulate the interest of NIH on the then emerging field. He always promoted the collaborative spirit in the community. At the 2016 symposium held in honor of his retirement from NIH, Sandy urged us to continue the symposium at a regular basis as a new collaborative avenue among mass spectrometry community in the area. He was a warm and caring person, always thinking of the community ahead of his own interest. We will miss him greatly. – Hee-Yong Kim, NIH
Sandy co-organized the WBMSDG in the late 1970s was a speaker in 2013, 2012, 2011, 1990, 1985, and 1982.