Feb. 2, 1951 – Dec. 16, 2015
Stephen R. Besch, a longtime employee of the SUNY Research Foundation at the University at Buffalo, died Wednesday in his Buffalo home after a battle with brain cancer. He was 64.
A Buffalo native, Mr. Besch was a graduate of Bishop Turner High School and earned a bachelor’s degree in biology and Ph.D. in physiology from the University at Buffalo.
In 1985, he joined the Research Foundation at UB, where he did biomedical research on a range of issues, including the potential for using a peptide in tarantula venom for treatment of diseases including muscular dystrophy.
Mr. Besch enjoyed playing classical guitar, summers at the beach and carpentry, according to family members, who added that he had a lifelong curiosity and passion for science and sharing it with others. “He wanted to understand everything,” said his daughter, Lydia Anne, who added that her father was driven to improve anything he believed could be improved.
During Mr. Besch’s illness, she said, he participated in the clinical trial of a device used to combat brain tumors, employing an electrical field generator and electrodes attached to his head.
“He was constantly trying to redesign it,” his daughter said, and considered contacting the manufacturer to suggest improvements.
Survivors in addition to his daughter include his wife of 39 years, the former Laurie Zackheim; three sisters, Deborah Patti, Carolann and Sandra; and four brothers, Michael, George, Charles and John.
A scholarship fund is being started in Mr. Besch’s name at UB. There will be no services.