In Memoriam: Dr Keith Alexander Fletcher (1931-2021)

News article 30 Nov 2021
140

It is with deep regret that LSTM has to announce that Dr Alec Fletcher, a long-term staff member for almost 40 years, passed away on 30th October, aged 90. 

Dr Fletcher was a highly competent biochemist who trained at the University of Sheffield and joined LSTM at the then Department of Tropical Medicine in the late 1950s and later obtained his PhD at LSTM.

His main research interest was in malaria pathology (the so-called malaria toxic factor and the effects of G-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency). He was in reality the right-hand man of the then head of the department and Dean of the School, Professor Brian Maegraith. Dr Fletcher virtually ran the department during Professor Brian Maegraith’s frequent absences relating to LSTM’s overseas collaborations.

Remembering Dr Fletcher, Emeritus Professor and former LSTM Director, David Molyneux, said: “Dr Fletcher was amongst those staff who welcomed me to LSTM in 1968 and made me feel part of the community, in what was at the time, a relatively small group of academics. Alec was the key support for Brian Maegraith, who as Dean, had many other responsibilities but depended on Alec for running his research activities and supporting his numerous students working of the pathology of malaria in the primates housed on the roof of the old school building! These studies laid the foundation of our understanding of malaria pathology for many years and the group were widely recognized as world authorities.”

Dr Fletcher was highly regarded as supervisor for many of the research students in the department being highly supportive and helpful, supervising at any one time up to 5 PhD students. He was also very encouraging and friendly to the departmental technical staff.

After Professors Maegraith’s and then Herbert Gilles’ retirements, when LSTM’s departmental system was reorganised, Dr Fletcher moved to the Department of Tropical Paediatrics under Professor Ralph Hendrickse. He retired from LSTM at the age of 65 in 1996. His wife, Jean, died before him and they left 3 sons.

LSTM wishes to extend its sincere condolences to Dr Fletcher's family.

With thanks to Professor David Theakston for his contribution