Gloria Troendle; Metabolic and Endocrine Disease Expert at FDA

Monday, October 22, 2007

Gloria Wetzel Troendle, 82, who was an assistant division director at the Food and Drug Administration, died Sept. 23 at the Rockville Nursing Home. She had Parkinson's disease.

Dr. Troendle joined the FDA in 1976 in its Metabolic and Endocrine Disease Division and worked for the agency for 24 years. She published numerous papers, provided expert testimony in numerous court proceedings and was an early proponent of requiring that drugs be evaluated for use for children as well as adults during the new drug evaluation process.

She became a supervisory medical officer in 1982 and served as deputy director of the Metabolic and Endocrine Disease Division until her retirement in 1999.

In 1986, when the federal government began cracking down on the $100 million-a-year market in illegal steroid drugs, Dr. Troendle said the use of steroid drugs without medical supervision "should be considered life-threatening." She said liver cancer has been found in athletes with as little as one or two years of exposure to steroids.

Dr. Troendle was born in Yakima, Wash., and was raised on a hops farm without electricity, indoor plumbing or a telephone. While bearing the responsibilities of farm life and managing to reach the nearest high school, which was 21 miles away, she became valedictorian of her class. She attended the local junior college to learn typing and shorthand, her parents' idea of perfect skills for a young woman.

But her academic performance attracted the attention of the American Association of University Women, which offered her a scholarship to finish at the State College of Washington. She majored in chemistry, graduated summa cum laude and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa.

She graduated in the late 1940s from the Washington University Medical School in St. Louis and interned at City Hospital of St. Louis for one year and then started a residency at Children's Hospital of St. Louis. She married in 1952 and later settled in the Washington area.

Between 1953 and 1963, she occupied herself with raising her family. As her children grew up, however, she longed to use her medical training. In the late 1960s, she joined her husband's pediatric practice in Rockville for several years and then volunteered for a research position at the National Institutes of Health.

At NIH, she worked for the originators of the classification of elevated lipid levels in the human vascular system, Donald Fredrickson and Robert Levy, whose pioneering work made possible the current family of cholesterol-controlling drugs.

Survivors include her husband of 55 years, Dr. Francis Troendle of Silver Spring; seven children, George Troendle of Potomac, Frederick Troendle of Jacksonville Beach, Fla., August Troendle of Cincinnati, Lina Troendle of Panama City, Hazel Troendle of Derwood, Linda Harrison of Germantown and James Troendle of Ellicott City; two sisters; and 11 grandchildren.

-- Yvonne Shinhoster Lamb

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