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Henry Miziorko 03/17/2024

Miziorko, Henry Michael died at home on March 17, at age 76, after enjoying a day with his family. Henry was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania October 11, 1947 to Henry G. and Veronica Miziorko. A graduate of St Joseph’s Prep, class of ’65, Henry received his BS in chemistry from St. Joseph’s University in ‘69 and Ph.D. from University of Pennsylvania in ‘74. He met his best friend and the love of his life, Rita McCloskey at a Philadelphia Orchestra concert to begin the foundation to their 53 year marriage, a family, and many adventures.
Following a postdoctoral fellowship at Johns Hopkins University, Henry joined the faculty of The Medical College of Wisconsin as a member of the Department of Biochemistry. As a recipient of an Alexander von Humboldt Fellowship he conducted research at the Max Planck Institute for Experimental Medicine in Göttingen, Germany. His career culminated when Henry became the Marion-Merrell-Dow Missouri Professor of Structural Biology and the Head of the Division of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology of the School of Biological Sciences at The University of Missouri, Kansas City.
Throughout his prestigious career Henry mentored many Ph.D. candidates and postdoctoral fellows in a rigorous and prolific lab while imparting his love of science. As a colleague, Henry was sought after to collaborate in numerous scientific endeavors sharing an appreciation for basic science in the study of enzymes and in the defense of academic freedom. Henry was known for his quick wit, his careful and detailed approach to science, and his pursuit of excellence.
Upon retirement, Rita and Henry returned to Wisconsin to be close to their son Michael, daughter-in-law Sarah, and grandsons Nathan, and Nicholas.
Henry’s lifelong enthusiasm for fishing began with his brother, Bob, surf-casting in the Atlantic Ocean and continued with fly fishing for trout in rivers and streams of Wisconsin as well as in his favorite National Park, Yellowstone. He enjoyed sharing fishing tips with his grandsons also teaching them how to make the best lures. His passion for travel began with his wife Rita and together they ignited a similar appreciation in their son Michael and daughter Alexandra through many trips to Europe, US, and Canada. Continuing this tradition Henry and Rita treasured traveling with Michael and his family. Henry took pride in his Polish heritage and delighted in sharing traditions of food, culture and music with his sister Marian who will remember him as an affectionate and steadfast brother.
Henry will be remembered as a caring husband, father, Poppop, brother, uncle, mentor, colleague and friend. He is preceded in death by his daughter, Alyx; brother, Bob; and brother-in-law, Frank McCloskey. He is survived by his wife, Rita; son, Michael (Sarah); grandsons, Nathan and Nicholas; sister, Marian (Jim) Ciliberti; sister-in-law, Margaret; nephews, Matthias and Gregory; and favorite niece, Nicole; and her children, Tori, Alyssa, and Tyler; along with many other relatives and friends.
Memorials preferred to Henry Miziorko ‘69 Summer Research Fellowship, St. Joseph’s University, 5600 City Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19131-1395, Attn: Office of Advancement.
 A Memorial Service will be Saturday, April 27, 2024 at 1:00PM at Bakken-Young Funeral & Cremation Services (805 E Division Street) in River Falls with a visitation starting at 12 noon. Arrangements are with Bakken-Young Funeral & Cremation Services.


  • Joe Barbieri Posted March 20, 2024 2:47 pm

    A dear friend and colleague. My sincere thoughts to Rita and the family.

  • Bettie Sue Siler Masters Posted March 20, 2024 6:06 pm

    Henry Miziorko was an outstanding member of the faculty of the Department of Biochemistry at the Medical College of Wisconsin during my chairmanship in the 1980’s. He was a productive scientist and an original thinker. We became friends and shared similar goals. I am saddened by his loss and wish Rita, Mike and family many happy memories and sincerest sympathy.

  • Kalyanaraman Posted March 20, 2024 9:57 pm

    I am deeply saddened to hear the passing of Henry M. Henry was a good friend, colleague, and a collaborator. We had a lot of fun with Henry when we went out for a few beers at a bar called Beno’s. It was Henry, Al, Okita, Ravi and John. Henry was lively and a good story teller. I will miss him. My condolences to Rita and the family.


  • Jeanne Schneider Posted March 21, 2024 6:52 am

    My condolences to Rita and Mike. I worked with Henry at MCW for 15 years, recalling him giving me my performance review with my newborn in my arms crying, but we laughed and got through it. Henry may or may not have been the creator of our fermentation seminar series, but he was always an enthusiastic participant and brought lots of fun to the department. Rest in peace Henry.

  • Saint Joseph’s University Posted March 21, 2024 8:30 am

    On behalf of the Saint Joseph’s University, we were extremely saddened to hear of Henry’s passing. Our condolences to the Miziorko Family. We were proud of all that Henry accomplished and were grateful for his continued pride and support of our students and the Chemistry Department in particular. His legacy will continue in his named Summer Research Fellowship of which our students are grateful to participate in. We will keep him and family in our thoughts and prayers. – Friends from Hawk Hill

  • Nancy Dahms Posted March 21, 2024 9:34 pm

    Henry Miziorko was a colleague and mentor. As a new faculty member, I was especially grateful for his support and kind advice. I came to appreciate Henry’s quick wit, his careful and detailed approach to science, and his passion for excellence. My most sincere condolences to Rita, Mike and family.

  • Jung-Ja Kim Posted March 22, 2024 11:31 pm

    Henry was an excellent collaborator and a good friend to me. At MCW, our offices were next to each other, and his laboratory was across the hall from our offices. So, it was easy for us to discuss what we were working on together – we had a joint NIH grant and published several papers together. I will cherish those memories of our discussions on enzyme structure/functions and other non-scientific topics, such as Korean food—my sincere condolences to Rita, Mike, and family.

  • Jung Ja Kim Posted March 22, 2024 11:35 pm

    Henry was an excellent collaborator and a good friend to me. At MCW, our offices were next to each other, and his laboratory was across the hall from our offices. So, it was easy for us to discuss what we were working on together – we had a joint NIH grant and published several papers together. I will cherish those memories of our discussions on enzyme structure/functions and other non-scientific topics, such as Korean food—my sincere condolences to Rita, Mike, and family.

  • Marino Martinez Carrion Posted March 23, 2024 10:43 am

    I knew Henry since he was a postdoc and had periodic contact with him along his academic career. Indeed, I tried to recruit him as a faculty member and finally succeeded in moving him to the University of Missouri Kansas City as the last Head of the Division of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology of the School of Biological Sciences recruited through a national search. We shared a love for basic science in the study of enzymes and defense of academic freedom. This unexpected sad news is choking, and Ana and I send our sincerest condolences to Rita and family.

  • Gerald Wyckoff Posted March 23, 2024 2:37 pm

    Henry was a mentor, colleague, and friend to me at UMKC. He was always ready to help with an idea, and he was an excellent collaborator. More than that, Henry brought out the best in everyone around him, and his wit and wisdom was always appreciated. I’ll miss him, but his scientific legacy will always shine brightly. My sincere condolences to his family, as well as all of the rest of his friends and colleagues.

  • John VanNice Posted March 25, 2024 9:24 am

    Dr. Henry Miziorko was my advisor in graduate school and I look back fondly to that time. I am saddened to hear the news and will miss our correspondence. My condolences go out to the family.

  • Art Haas Posted March 26, 2024 5:50 pm

    Linda and I send our sincerest sympathies to Rita, Mike, and their family. Few things have recently affected me as deeply as learning this week of Henry’s passing. While we occasionally had professional differences, there was never a question of Henry’s integrity or his absolute dedication to his colleagues and institution. Henry was an excellent scientist, scholar, and teacher that reflected the “old school” training of his mentors that he in turn imparted to those students fortunate to be accepted into his lab. I have wonderful memories of our times at the Medical College of Wisconsin and our shared experiences. God speed, Henry.

  • Jacob G Ghazarian Posted March 26, 2024 11:53 pm

    I was deeply saddened when I learned of Henry’s untimely passing. Henry was a colleague I very much admired for his dedication to scientific excellence which he pursued very much with brilliant competence and subtle pride. He was truly a visionary scientist. Our friendship was cemented, then immortalized in our 1970s solo fishing and camping adventures in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Many a times we would cherish together the taste of ‘Churchill’ cigars sitting in my office while I listened attentively to his wit – to his sense of deserved destiny. Those were the days ‘my friend’ I thought would never end. I offer my sincerest condolences to Rita whose losses I imagine can only be consoled by the closeness and strength of her son Michael of whom I have always remembered as Henry’s little son who had often spoken of me as ‘Doctor Jacob.’ I pray the eternal heavenly forces of good and mercy show Rita, Michael and their families the path to contentment and peace.

  • Mary Ann & John Lough Posted March 28, 2024 7:51 am

    Henry and I arrived at MCW, then on the Marquette campus, on the same day: July 1, 1977. Shortly thereafter Mary Ann and I became closely acquainted with Rita and Henry, initiating an enduring and mutually supportive social and professional relationship as we raised our children, recreated together in Wisconsin’s Northwoods, and became established at MCW. Professionally, I was always amazed, and frequently intimidated, by Henry’s scientific prowess, highlighted by his uncanny ability to conceive compelling scientific questions, followed by the acquisition and publication of definitive results. Henry’s passion for protein biochemistry was only exceeded by his devotion to Rita, Mike, and Alexandra, as well as to his Philadelphia roots and extended family. It was a sad day in 2004 when Rita and Henry left Milwaukee, with sadness only surpassed by last week’s disheartening news.

  • Maryann Bonner Posted April 1, 2024 7:26 am

    Dear Rita
    We were saddened to learn of Henry’s sudden passing. I remember how much fun we had in Philadelphia when you lived here. We enjoyed the Octoberfests in Wisconsin. How I wish now that we had attended more! Henry’s sense of humor was as unique as he was. It just felt good to be in his presence! (And yours). I will miss him. Love to Mike, Sara and boys!!

  • Lorraine Aurely Posted April 1, 2024 8:13 pm

    Dear Rita – I was so sorry to hear your sad news. I have such fond memories of you and Henry, from our days at CHC to your wedding and beyond. He was a wonderful person and the two of you were such a perfect match. Those memories are now even more dear and I treasure them. My deepest sympathies to your and your family.

  • Owen W. Griffith Posted April 4, 2024 2:57 pm

    I am very saddened by Henry’s passing. I met Henry when I came to MCW in 1992 to interview for the Chairmanship of Biochemistry. Henry was a major reason I took the job. His passion for science and his accomplishments were very impressive. Once at MCW I often relied on Henry’s administrative advice as well as his scientific wisdom. My deepest condolences to his family and other friends.

  • VAUGHN JACKSON Posted April 4, 2024 3:45 pm

    My sincere sympathy to Rita, Mike and family. Henry was a dear friend to me. He welcomed me to the Biochemistry faculty in 1983 and provided me mentorship that was so needed, I fondly remember his humorous stories describing his experiences teaching medical students. Henry was a no-nonsense kind-of-guy that believed in providing a thorough educational experience. I particularly miss the smell of cigar smoke when He and Charley Taketa would “light (lit) up” at the end of the week to have “scientific” discussions. Henry also took me down to the Milwaukee River to teach me how to trout fish. I have been left with many good memories. Thanks Henry. You will be missed.

  • Ravi Misra Posted April 4, 2024 5:01 pm

    I was very sad to hear the news of Henry’s passing. Henry helped recruit me to the Biochemistry Department in the early 90s. I remember at one of my recruitment dinners him explaining to me how Wisconsin wasn’t so bad and that MCW was the only place he had been where you could get up in the morning, drive 30 minutes north, bag a goose and be back in time for 9 o’clock class! To this day I think he was busting me, but I did end up coming to MCW where I have been for 30 years. Henry was dedicated to his science, and one of the most highly respected, and accomplished scientists at MCW, and one of MCWs big personalities. He also did not suffer fools lightly, whether they be students, other faculty, or administrators—particularly administrators. There was never a dull faculty meeting when Henry was around. My deepest condolences to Rita, Michael, and the family, and all those whose lives he touched. Rest in Peace Henry.

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