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In Memoriam

Otto Francis Sankey, Ph.D.


We lost a fine man, world renowned physicist, and fierce prostate cancer warrior on Saturday, March 21, 2020. My friend Otto passed peacefully at home that morning, with Debbie, his loving wife of 45 years, and their daughters Stephanie and Holly at his side. Otto earned a Doctorate from the Washington University at St. Louis in 1979, and in 1982 began teaching all levels of physics at Arizona State University. He was honored as a Regents professor in 2008, and retired in 2011.

Otto was diagnosed with Stage IV prostate cancer two years later, with what he conversationally described as innumerable lesions. Otto understood the need to, and quickly became his own best advocate; a role he vigorously encouraged other warriors to take on in waging their own battles. Otto’s brilliance attacked his challenge at a biophysics molecular level, and enabled him to take an unusually active role in his treatment, participating in many clinical trials. Otto started a very active Us TOO support, education, and advocacy group in 2014, and launched the Arizona Prostate Cancer Coalition, Inc. in June, 2019.

Another world famous physicist and one of Otto’s closest friends, Dr. David Drabold, characterized Otto as “A man of integrity, utterly reliable, always ready to help … I have never known a man more alive and integrated successfully into life … “The Glory of God is Intelligence” and Otto exemplified this.’” 

Dr. Otto F. Sankey was loved, admired, and tremendously respected by all of his Arizona Coalition friends and colleagues, and he is sorely missed.

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