Gear, Adrian Richard Leishman

Adrian Richard Leishman Gear, 77, of Charlottesville, Virginia passed away on Sunday, June 18, 2017. He is survived by his loving wife of 53 years, Carol; his two sons, Andrew, Charlotte, N.C. and Richard, Portland, Ore.; and two grandchildren, Hannah and Julia, Charlotte, N.C. Other surviving family members include brothers, Michael, Scotland, UK and Peter, Mill Valley, Calif. Adrian was born on August 31, 1939, in Pretoria, South Africa. He was the third son of Dr. Harry S. Gear and Joyce Gear. In 1944, the family moved to Cape Town where his father became Deputy Chief Health Officer for the S.A. Department of Public Health. Adrian was educated at Bishops Diocesan College. The family later moved to Geneva, Switzerland in 1951, where his father became the Assistant Director General of the World Health Organization. While in Geneva, Adrian attended the International School of Geneva. Adrian went on to attend Oxford University for undergraduate, graduate and finally a Doctor of Philosophy degree under the direction of Sir Hans Krebs. He then completed a postdoctoral fellowship at Johns Hopkins University under the tutelage of Dr. Albert Lehninger before joining the Department of Biochemistry at the University of Virginia as an Assistant Professor in 1967 at the tender age of 28. Dr. Gear had a long and productive career at the University, where he studied the role of platelets in the blood-clotting cascade, in particular, those involving the interactions of oxidized lipoproteins and bacterial toxins and their relationship to cardiovascular pathology. He developed a unique, “quenched flow” method of studying the kinetics of platelet adhesion and aggression in real time on the millisecond scale. Dr. Gear had a passion for teaching and successfully guided hundreds of graduate and medical students through the convoluted world of Biochemistry with great joie de vie. Like his father before him, Adrian maintained a sacrificial mindset towards family. Family came first, and Adrian willingly sacrificed his time despite the obsessive demands of academia that has orphaned many a child. This included long nature walks through the Blue Ridge mountains, gardening and the Botany behind it, birds and birding, teaching photography, coaching soccer, performing rudimentary science projects, endless homework, and editing creative writing projects just to name a few. None of these activities were performed grudgingly but with a steadfast joy. Adrian’s deep love for family manifested in his photography. Adrian learned his craft as a child on an old Contax camera, capturing the beauty of Southern Africa, including its birds and landscapes. He went on to win an award while in Geneva for a winter photograph of Lake Geneva. The family enjoyed (and occasionally suffered through) endless slide shows. It was one way he looked back at and cherished his time with us. Adrian was missing in most of these images, but he was the glue and presence behind them all. In addition to photography, Adrian loved languages (French and German in particular and a splash of Swahili), woodworking, and music. In his later years, he was known for starting spontaneous conversations in French when in the presence of a willing participant. Numinous and almost angelic in his disposition, Adrian was an otherworldly figure in an otherwise increasingly angry and bitter world. Like the popular “I am second” declaration, he put himself second. He gave generously of himself, and the outpouring from former faculty, friends and students bears witness to that. He will be sorely missed, but we plan on seeing him again. A service to celebrate his life will be held on Sunday, October 15, 2017, at 4:30 p.m. at the University of Virginia Chapel, 145 McCormick Road, Charlottesville, VA 22903. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that memorial contributions be made to either the Hospice of the Piedmont, 675 Peter Jefferson Parkway, Suite 300, Charlottesville, VA 22911, or Alzheimer’s Foundation, 1160 Pepsi Place, Suite 306, Charlottesville, VA 22901. Condolences may be sent to the family at http://www.hillandwood.com

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