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January 11, 2001

OBITUARY: Joseph A. Bianculli

School of Pharmacy Dean Emeritus Joseph A. Bianculli died Dec. 8, 2000, of heart failure. He was 89.

"Dr. B.," as he was known by generations of pharmacists, was a graduate of Westinghouse High School. At Pitt, he earned a B.S. degree in chemistry in 1932, a B.S. summa cum laude in pharmacy in 1935 and a Ph.D. in organic chemistry in 1941.

During World War II he served as a research chemist at American Cyanamid in Bridgeville, Pa. After the war he became assistant director of chemical research at Reed and Carnrick Pharmaceuticals in Jersey City, N.J.

Bianculli joined the Pitt faculty in 1948 as an assistant professor and, over the next decade, he was named associate professor, professor of pharmaceutical chemistry and chairman of the Department of Chemistry. In 1958 he was named acting dean and in 1961 dean of the School of Pharmacy. Shortly before the death of his first wife in 1976 he stepped down as dean but remained on the pharmacy faculty.

Although he retired in 1981, Bianculli maintained an office in Salk Hall until shortly before his death.

"He had the ability to make students who disliked chemistry love it. Whether they were loving chemistry or Dr. B., I'm not sure," said Randy Juhl, dean of Pitt's School of Pharmacy.

Bianculli taught multiple generations of Pitt pharmacy students. "It wouldn't be unusual for him to teach a pharmacist and then teach their kids and then, as dean emeritus, see the grandchild," Juhl said.

Bianculli loved the outdoors and enjoyed hunting and fishing. In the early 1950s, he built a cabin in Fayette County and in the process taught his sons carpentry and masonry work, skills he had taught himself. He also was a self-taught pianist and played the accordion and organ. While in his 80s he taught himself to use a computer.

The Bianculli name is well-known at Pitt's pharmacy school. Dr. B. and all four of his brothers went there, as did two of his sons.

Bianculli is survived by his wife, Alice C. (Vogel) Bianculli; three sons, Thomas J. of Cranberry, Paul D. of Swissvale and Arthur V. of Carrick; three brothers, Thomas A. of Penn Hills, Victor M. of Plum and Virgil D. of Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; six grandchildren, and one great-grandchild.

He was preceded in death by his brother Italo A., sister Gilda Bianculli Weiner and his first wife, Nancy Vaccarelli Bianculli.

Contributions may be made to the Dr. Joseph A. Bianculli Scholarship Fund, University of Pittsburgh School of Pharmacy, 1104 Salk Hall, Pittsburgh 15261.

Filed under: Feature,Volume 33 Issue 9

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