Carol H. Letendre, NIH official, dies at 75

Carol H. Letendre, a research biochemist at the National Institutes of Health who was a former deputy director of the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute’s Division of Blood Diseases and Resources, died Aug. 22 at Howard County General Hospital in Columbia. She was 75.

The cause was pneumonia, said her former husband, Robert Letendre.

Dr. Letendre, a Columbia resident, worked at NIH for 32 years before retiring in 2001. She joined the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute in 1981 and was named program administrator of the Division of Blood Diseases and Resources’ hemophilia and platelet disorders program in 1983. Three years later, she was promoted to division deputy director.

She guided research on the management of hemophilia and sickle cell disease, stem cell transplants and the role of blood clots in heart attacks. She had a specific interest in the study and treatment of arterial thrombosis and helped establish a research program to explore the molecular genetics of the disorder.

Carol Ann Hilary was born in Mount Sterling, Ky., and was a 1958 graduate of what is now Hobart and William Smith Colleges in Geneva, N.Y. She received a master’s degree in nutritional science in 1962 and a doctorate in biochemistry in 1965, both from Cornell University.

Dr. Letendre completed four years of postdoctoral study at the Institute of Physico-Chemical Biology in Paris and was a research associate at the University of Virginia before joining NIH.

Her memberships included the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and the American Society of Hematology. In 1999, she received the NIH director’s award.

Her first marriage, to Robert Letendre, ended in divorce. Her husband of six years, Myron Wheeler, died in 2002. Survivors include two sons from her first marriage, Robert Letendre Jr. of Germantown and Kenneth Letendre of Albuquerque; a sister; a brother; and a granddaughter.

— Megan McDonough

Most Read Local