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Mystic - Dr. Gerard N. Burrow, who served as president and CEO of Sea Research Foundation, the parent organization of Mystic Aquarium, from 2001 to 2007, died Dec. 15 at his home in Hamden, according to a statement from the aquarium.
Burrow, 80, began serving as a trustee of Sea Research in 1990 and went on to serve several years as the chairman of the Board of Trustees before becoming president and CEO.
The aquarium said his focus "included building research capabilities for the institution and connecting ocean exploration and marine mammal and biological health to human health issues."
"Dr. Jerry Burrow was an active and committed trustee for Sea Research Foundation," said Stephen Coan, the current president and CEO of Sea Research. "He was excited to take on projects related to research and animal husbandry. He remained ever committed and passionate about our mission, and ever concerned about his beloved beluga whales."
Before coming to the aquarium, Burrow spent a long career in medicine. He was the dean emeritus and David Paige Smith Professor of Medicine at the Yale University School of Medicine.
According to the aquarium, for many years Burrow was a special adviser to the president of Yale University for health affairs. He was also a renowned expert in endocrinology, wrote many articles and papers, including two books on thyroid disease, and one on the history of the Yale School of Medicine.
Burrow also served as the chairman of the Board of Directors of the University of Connecticut Health Center and served on the Board of Trustees of the University of Connecticut. After graduating from Yale Medical School, he joined the United States Public Health Service, working on the Atomic Bomb Casualty Commission in Nagasaki, Japan, from 1959-1961 researching the effects of prenatal exposure to the atomic bomb.
Before arriving at Yale, he headed the University of Toronto's Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism at Toronto General Hospital, chaired the Department of Medicine at the University of Toronto, and was the vice chancellor for health services and dean of the University of California - San Diego School of Medicine.
"We have not only lost a great man. I have lost a dear friend of over 20 years who would always meet me with a smile and a 'Hello, Buddy' when I walked into his office to seek his wise advice," said ocean explorer Robert Ballard, whose Institute for Exploration is at the aquarium.
A graveside service was held Dec. 19 in New Haven. A memorial service and tribute is planned for the spring.