William Harel, PhD
William, a beloved and loving husband, father, father-in-law, and grandparent, passed away at the age of sixty after a three year battle with metastatic atypical meningioma.
He was born in 1952 in the Socialist Republic of Romania, where he lived together with his mother, a holocaust survivor, until they emigrated to Israel in 1963. In Israel, William excelled academically and took an interest in medical biology, eventually leading him to earn a PhD in immunology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
He married Nily in 1975 and fathered Anat (1978) and Jonathan (1981). In 1986, he moved with his family to California to pursue post-doctoral studies at USC Cancer Center, where he was quickly promoted to a faculty position. Through his research, he helped develop a melanoma vaccine, licensed in Canada. Later in his career he moved into the pharmaceutical industry, where he would ultimately head a CRO managing global clinical trials.
His post-doctoral advisor said of William that “he had a true strength of character and unwavering sense of ethics that is rare in people, and he felt no need to show off his many positive attributes. Everyone recognized his abilities anyway.”
William was straightforward and unpretentious. He would go out of his way to help others without second thought. He was a skeptically minded scientific thinker. He was reconciliatory and optimistic. He was a prankster and a jokester with a gleam, silly and wonderful, happiness-inducing, and an inspiration to many.
Here are his own words, found in a note after his passing:
“Things to remember about me:
Please remember how much I love Ima (Nily), Yonny our son, Anat our daughter together with Kevin, her husband, and their daughter Annabelle.
Family and other friends in Israel, USA, Argentina, Germany etc.
Loving everyone in our family endlessly!
Hugging you with unbelievable love!
Thank you for your contribution toward the fight against this terrible disease.
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