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Dr. Mark Neal Prichard

6 février , 196513 juin , 2019
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Dr. Mark Neal Prichard, 54, of Birmingham, Alabama passed away on June 13, 2019. He was born on February 6, 1965 in Menomonie, Wisconsin.

Mark was preceded in passing by his father, Neal Wayne Prichard. He is survived by his beloved wife of 31 years, Lynn Prichard of Birmingham; his sons, Joshua Prichard and Brian Prichard of Birmingham; his mother, Patricia Anne Barnes Prichard of Wisconsin; his sister, Linda P. Thompson (Ray) of Minnesota; his brother, Scot Prichard (Maria) of Texas; his nieces, Katie Thompson of Minnesota, Mandi Prichard of Washington, D.C., and Aria Prichard of Wisconsin; his nephews, Ryan Thompson of Minnesota, Austin Prichard of Idaho, and Allan Prichard of Iowa; and a host of colleagues and friends.

Dr. Prichard earned his Bachelor of Science Degree from the University of Minnesota and his PhD from the University of Michigan Ann Arbor. He was Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, where he was also the Director of the Molecular Diagnostic Virology Laboratory. His research focused on the discovery of new drugs for DNA viruses.

Dr. Prichard was the PI on contracts from the National Institutes of Health and helped investigators from academia and industry identify new inhibitors and understand their mechanism of action. He was author or coauthor of about 110 peer reviewed publications. In 2009 he received the William Prusoff Young Investigator Award from the International Society for Antiviral Research and served on the Board of Directors and as Chair of the Program Committee for Antiviral Research Birmingham.

Dr. Prichard was active in community service. He was involved in Challenger baseball for about 10 years, and spent a lot of spare days and weekends helping at the Alabama School for the Deaf. He also had a variety of hobbies. He regularly hiked, cooked, gardened and worked in his woodshop, and enjoyed music, fly fishing, and time with friends and family.

A celebration of Mark's life will be on Tuesday, June 18, 2019 at Ridout's Southern Heritage Funeral Home in Pelham, Alabama. Gathering of family and friends will begin at 2 p.m. followed by the service at 3 p.m.

Services

  • Visitation mardi, 18 juin , 2019
  • A Memorial Celebration of Mark Prichard's Life mardi, 18 juin , 2019

Souvenirs

Dr. Mark Neal Prichard

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Mis MacPhail

17 juillet , 2019

I am saddened to hear of Mark’s passing. I worked with him at MedImmune and enjoyed his sense of humor and sunny disposition. He would occasionally teach me bad words in ASL and explained about non-signers being “muggles.” His family was all important to him and he seemed to be happy with his life. Truly a special human being. ❤️

Elke Lipka

27 juin , 2019

Mark was a collaborator of TSRL for over ten years. In addition to many fascinating scientific discussions we have had over the years, we also got to know Mark as the wonderful and fun person you all know so well. My partner in crime at the company, John Hilfinger, who also left us way to early, had grown to become quite good professional friends with Mark. All of us at TSRL miss you dearly, Mark, and I hope you find John up in the clouds and will have fun with with him!

Elke Lipka

Robin Conley

19 juin , 2019

I worked as a research technician with Dr. Prichard. I enjoyed working with him and learned a great deal. He supported my dream to become a physician. I’m very thankful for my time with him.
-Dr. Conley

Geraldine Jefferson

19 juin , 2019

I worked in Mark's lab for about 12 years. I consider it a privilege to have known Mark. I will always remember his bubbly and always optimistic personality. To me he was not only my boss but he was my friend and he will truly be missed. Sincere prayers for comfort going up for his family .

With Love,
Geraldine (Gerrie) Jefferson

Diana Begeman

18 juin , 2019

At the Prichard household the term Tree Lighting took on new meaning. Mark would take the tree out into the backyard after Christmas when the tree was nice a dry and light it on fire. It burned hot and bright. Everything was an adventure with Uncle Mark.

Diana Begeman

18 juin , 2019

2010 Swords and Daggers because, you know, what is a sword without a dagger?

Diana Begeman

18 juin , 2019

2010 Brothers and swords

Diana Begeman

18 juin , 2019

Mark's happy place was his workshop. We received, and still have, gifts from that workshop that we cherish. Beautiful wooden cutting boards, spoons, chocolate roll boards, sewing boxes and more. This was 2015 and Mark took the holiday excitement to new levels. In the workshop the kids all made..... swords. Kellen, when he got home, was so inspired by this project that he made swords with his other cousins. Mark's creative spirit inspired a generation of our young people.

Diana Begeman

18 juin , 2019

2010 Mark was the creative center of Josh's world, for good reason. Mark had an infinite capacity for seeing the world in unique and wonderful ways.

Diana Begeman

18 juin , 2019

2010.

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Biographie

Perhaps the best way to remember Mark Neal Prichard is to use the terms he used to describe himself.

“The Random Idea Generator”
He never ran out of ideas and didn’t worry if an idea was rejected, or a dozen ideas were rejected, because more were coming all the time. They weren’t all good. The climbing wall in the backyard, for instance. That was rejected out of hand, nevermind that he had already started building it. The bridge was a good idea, and three more just like it popped up in neighbor's yards. The same was true at work. As smart as he was, it wasn’t brilliance that distinguished him in the lab, it was an endless flow of new ideas.

There was no area in his life where this trait was more useful than as a father. Not so much with Brian, who has his own creative engine, but with Josh, who inherited ideas but no abilities. They built swords and pirate ships. Carved Charizard and launched pumpkins with a trebuchet. If Josh could imagine it, Mark could sketch it and make it real.


“The Packmule”
Mark was raised in a small Wisconsin town that relied mostly on farming, which may be where he got his work ethic. He considered “putting your head down and getting the job done” some of the highest praise he ever received. He believed in working smarter, not harder, when you can, which sometimes caused problems with people who only see how many hours you work, not how much you accomplish.

He was proud of his physical strength and liked to build it up in his free time by lifting. Rocks, some of which he named. "Floyd" was smashed when a tree fell in a storm but his pebbles remain. In all, Mark had 26 tons of rock delivered to our yard over a period of 12 years and he carefully arranged them all until they were, in his words, “inviting.” He would happily move a 100-pound rock 10 times, until he got the placement just right, inviting you to walk down his paths and enjoy.

Mark didn’t just carry rocks, he carried people. His shoulders were broad and supported a family, nieces and nephews, friends, a Challenger ball team, two labs, and countless other work projects. He never set down the load, just staggered and fell in the yolk, still insisting he could do it, and that he could never let down the people who mattered to him.


“Just a small town Midwestern farmboy”
This was mostly said tongue in cheek. Mark was from a small Midwestern farm town, but his father was a college professor and his mother was a public health nurse. What Mark really meant by it was that he was a simple man with traditional values, despite being a far right liberal. He was raised in a Congregational Church and for those of you not familiar, that means skipping the symbols, and going straight to loving and serving others. He practiced his religion every day of his life.

Mark didn’t enjoy publicity or recognition except among the people who mattered to him. He preferred the role of behind the scenes consensus builder, and his favorite humor was self deprecating: “If I were half a man, I’d have that finished by now.” "An idiot check is never out of place,” he would also say.

He knew his own self worth, but he was making sure you knew he didn’t take himself too seriously. B.S.? Bullshit. PhD? Piled Higher and Deeper. Not that he ever told that joke. His parents taught him not to swear and he didn’t. The neighbor men taught him the exception to that rule: If you are stuck under something heavy, no ladies are present, and it REALLY HURTS!


“Labrador Retriever”
Mark wasn’t a dog person particularly, he just had way too much energy and enthusiasm for one body to contain. He used to go for long hikes. If he had an extra lot of energy, they were “punishing” hikes. We used to joke that you couldn’t use the “W” word around him without taking him for one.

He tried to talk people into doing things and if he thought you might say no, he wasn’t above a little manipulation. “It will only take five minutes to get there.” We called those "Mark Minutes."

It also referred to food. He often said he had liked every bite of food he had ever been served. It wasn’t quite true. He wasn’t a fan of beets, and sea cucumber also provoked a face, but the exceptions prove the rule. He loved food, all food, exotic food, and comfort food.


"A lucky man"
This was also said tongue in cheek, because luck can be either good or bad and Mark had lots of both kinds. Luck is defined as success or failure brought about by chance, especially a low probability event. He had plenty of bad luck, three stooges type bad luck, like the popcorn kernel that once leaped out of the pan into his ear and scalded him, and the Hodgkins Lymphoma he was diagnosed with at 23. Also good luck, a great family, an awesome mentor in Charlie Shipman, and the world's best garden cat, Pumpkin.

It feels so wrong that Mark isn’t in the world anymore. He nearly died from Hodgkins Lymphoma at 23, so the 31 extra years were a gift and he approached that gift with appreciation every day. He saw the world as a series of opportunities to have fun, eat great food, advance science, and love and serve other people in the spirit of John Wesley:

"Do all the good you can. By all the means you can. In all the ways you can. In all the places you can. At all the times you can. To all the people you can. As long as ever you can."