Dr. Wylie Walker Vale, Jr.
  • In lieu of flowers, the family suggests your consideration of gifts in Wylie's memory to one of the educational institutions he enjoyed supporting: St. John's School, Rice University, Baylor College of Medicine, The Bishop's School and the Salk Institute

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Dr. Wylie Walker Vale, Jr. Obituary


Memories & Candles

“Salute to Wylie Vale! ”
1 of 61 | Posted by: John Jia

“Dearest Betty, It is so sad to have to write this, but how wonderful to have talked to you yesterday. How true it is that you said you just feel...Read More »
2 of 61 | Posted by: NANCY WARING - ATLANTA, GA

“Wylie's was my mentor when I was a postdoctoral fellow in the Salk Institute. He was a fantastic mentor who taught me to ask the most critical...Read More »
3 of 61 | Posted by: Sean M. Smith - Collegeville, PA

Lucienne Guillemin, Dr. Roger Guillemin, myself Claire Guillemin, Dr Wylie Vale, Helen Guillemin “Dr Wylie Vale worked with my father Dr. Roger Guillemin to discover important brain hormones. Wylie was fun to be with. A few months prior to January...Read More »
4 of 61 | Posted by: Claire Guillemin - La Jolla, CA

“I had the brief opportunity to meet Dr. Vale because I volunteered in his lab last year. I remember being in awe of the intelligence that just exuded...Read More »
5 of 61 | Posted by: Rachel Jang - La Jolla, CA

“Wylie was and still will stay my mentor in Neuroendocrinology and even broadly in Science management, certainly one of the most impressive, talented...Read More »
6 of 61 | Posted by: NAHON Jean-Louis Valbonne, France

Today while keeping tabs on our Apache Longbow simulator for the US Army! “I recall running track and playing soccer for many years with Dub, as we affectionately called him. Reading through these wonderful comments also...Read More »
7 of 61 | Posted by: Joseph Kott Shook - Conroe, TX

“It is a testament to Dr Vale's life that he made such an impact on the community. I only met him at an alumni event for St. John's while I was in...Read More »
8 of 61 | Posted by: Stephanie Svetlik - Claremont, CA

“I am so sorry. I knew Wylie Sr. He designed my beautiful home which was so much lovlier than the larger houses now being built in Tanglewood. It...Read More »
9 of 61 | Posted by: Virginia McFarland - Houston, TX

Fake threat from Wylie when I came again to visit the Salk after my Laboratory Life book “It was a great chance to meet him and to observe him at work still a very young chap and to learn scientific ethos from him. ”
10 of 61 | Posted by: Bruno Latour - PARIS CEDEX 06

“Dear Betty, I did not have the pleasure of knowing Wylie, but he obviously was a very special man who made a great contribution to the world. I...Read More »
11 of 61 | Posted by: Jennifer Smith - La Jolla, CA

“Betty, Elizabeth and Susie, My mind can not imagine your loss, but my heart knows the memories you will keep with you forever.. May God ease...Read More »
12 of 61 | Posted by: Cathy Howieson - Pike Road, AL

“I would like to than Dr. Vales family for sharing him with us here at Salk. He was a great man to work with and for. Needless to say he was one of a...Read More »
13 of 61 | Posted by: Karen Suter - La Jolla, CA

“He was such a smart and very funny man, who ALWAYS made me laugh! We all miss him so much, and I want everyone to know what an honor and a privilege...Read More »
14 of 61 | Posted by: Chris Pryor - La Jolla, CA

“We are profoundly saddened by Wylie's death and we send our deepest sympathy to Betty, Elizabeth, Susannah, and their families. I treasure the 35...Read More »
15 of 61 | Posted by: marilyn perrin - la jolla, CA

an old photo of 1975 working in the lab “It was shocking to have learned that Wylie had passed so suddenly. Not long ago we were still debating about the effect of Lipitor vs thyroid...Read More »
16 of 61 | Posted by: Lana Yang - Philadelphia, PA

“My heartfelt condolences to the Wylie's family. ”
17 of 61 | Posted by: Eric Bulatao - San Diego, CA

“What an amazing person. It is rare to find a person as capable as Dr. Vale that is a humble person. I will miss his wit and sharpness. It was always...Read More »
18 of 61 | Posted by: Brian Ratcliff - TX - Cousin

“I know Wylie for a brief time while I was a post-doc at Salk. The discussions we had were very scientific and entertaining. Wylie's presence made so...Read More »
19 of 61 | Posted by: Grace Royappa - Memphis, TN

“Dear Betty, Elizabeth and Susannah, I'm so sorry that it is due to Wylie's passing that we are coming together right now. I have such wonderful...Read More »
20 of 61 | Posted by: Lesley Swain - Oakland, CA

“Dear Betty, Elizabeth & Susannah, We were so deeply sorry to learn of your loss. We will always remember Wylie as a really wonderful, many...Read More »
21 of 61 | Posted by: Ed and Martha Dennis - La Jolla

“Dear Betty, Elizabeth & Susannah, My heart goes out to you and your family in this difficult time. I was shocked and deeply saddened when I...Read More »
22 of 61 | Posted by: Martin Latterich - San Diego, CA

“We'll all miss your towering presence here with your Salk Institute colleagues. As you come to our Eternal home, I'm pretty sure God The Almighty is...Read More »
23 of 61 | Posted by: henry juguilon - CA

“Dear Betty, Elizabeth and Susannah, I first met Wylie when he joined the Board of Directors of Harcourt Brace Jovanovich. We became fast friends. ...Read More »
24 of 61 | Posted by: Michael R. Winston - Washington, DC

“There's an ache in my heart and a void in my life following Wylie's unexpected and untimely death. He was a dear friend, supporter, and adviser on...Read More »
25 of 61 | Posted by: Barbara Attardi - Rockville, MD

“Wylie's untimely passing is all the more shocking because his youthful exuberance never seemed to diminish during the last 30 years. I will always...Read More »
26 of 61 | Posted by: Mark & Carla Smith - Landenberg, PA

“I was so shocked to hear that we had all lost Wylie. My thoughts and prayers are with you, Betty, Elizabeth, and Susannah, at this very difficult...Read More »
27 of 61 | Posted by: Susan McCall - Phoenix, AZ

“What a shocking loss. Wylie was a superb scientist, rich in humanity and, in a field where most take themselves too seriously, refreshingly down to...Read More »
28 of 61 | Posted by: Jeff McKelvy - San Diego, CA

“Dear Betty, Elizabeth & Susannah, I was shocked and deeply saddened to hear of Wylie's death and of your great loss. Someone sent this to me...Read More »
29 of 61 | Posted by: David Raphael Singer - La Jolla, AR

“I knew Wylie in the Lower Level days at the Institute so before he truly came into his own ... but even then he stood out and you knew he was the...Read More »
30 of 61 | Posted by: Rolly Schroeder

“How fun to know when you ran into Wylie he was going to find a fun, sometimes challenging way to say something unexpected that elicited lots more...Read More »
31 of 61 | Posted by: Lacey & Blayney Colmore - CA

“I had the pleasure of being on staff at Bishop's during Wylie's tenure on the board and as President, and he made it a pleasure, indeed. Not all...Read More »
32 of 61 | Posted by: Wendy McGuire - Coronado, CA

“Dear Betty and Girls, Words are not adequate to tell you how very, very sorry we were to hear the tragic news. Your loss is overwhelming right...Read More »
33 of 61 | Posted by: Mary Johnson - La Jolla, CA

“Dear Betty There are no words to express the love and admiration I have for you and Wylie. To be your friend and learn from your selfless generosity...Read More »
34 of 61 | Posted by: Sara Sweet - San Diego, CA

“Dear Betty, Please accept my sincere condolences on the passing of your dear husband Wylie. I was very saddened by the news and trust that all the...Read More »
35 of 61 | Posted by: Diana Lombrozo - La Jolla, CA

“Although we didn't know Wylie, we felt we did through Betty. We know he was a wonderful person, scientist, husband, father and grandfather. Our...Read More »
36 of 61 | Posted by: Devonna Hall and Richard Restuccia - CA

“In La Jolla over half his life, yet a cosmic blink of brightness. With his brightness Wylie was always warm, cordial - and, in all positive ways, a...Read More »
37 of 61 | Posted by: Dick Davis - La Jolla, CA

“Betty and Darling Girls, I am so saddended. Know that we have our arms rapped around you at this time. We will be making your Mother's peach pie...Read More »
38 of 61 | Posted by: mary newberry johns - la quinta, CA

“To the Vale family, With our deepest sympathy and love, the Teasdales. Elsa, David, David and Caleb ”
39 of 61 | Posted by: David and Elsa Teasdale - Houaton, TX

“As one of Betty's friends ,we had the privilege of knowing Wylie and seeing Wylie through Betty's love for him. Wylie and Betty were a special...Read More »
40 of 61 | Posted by: Dennis and Lucy Borsenberger - CA

“Wylie was part of a wonderful family team that worked in a loving way to help build a solid foundation for The Bishop's School and leave it in a...Read More »
41 of 61 | Posted by: Ellen and Zeke Knight - San Diego, CA

“Betty, I am so sorry for your loss and thank you for sharing about his life on this site. It was so heart-warming to learn about how and when you...Read More »
42 of 61 | Posted by: Kristin Davidson - La Jolla, CA

“Please know how sadden I am, and The Bishop's School community is, by Wylie's passing. The Vale family remains in our thoughts and prayers. ”
43 of 61 | Posted by: Aimeclaire Roche - La Jolla , CA

“Of course Wylie was a Prince among researchers. His research achievements were of outstanding importance. He had great sense of humour. When I...Read More »
44 of 61 | Posted by: Adrian Dunn - Honolulul, HI

“My children and I are thinking of you all at this most difficult of times, and treasuring our many memories of Wylie and the Vale family over the...Read More »
45 of 61 | Posted by: Brooke Johnson Suiter - NC

“Our sincerest sympathy to you during your loss of your dear husband and father, Wylie. We join you in clebration of his life and many gifts, and...Read More »
46 of 61 | Posted by: Nora, Will, Camille & Paige Newbern - CA

“As a first year grad student, I devoured his early work on CRF and heard numerous stories from my mentors about his earlier work. Soon thereafter, I...Read More »
47 of 61 | Posted by: Mike Owens - Atlanta, GA

“Marlene andI join the legion of friends and colleagues of Wiley Vale in mourning his death. I knew Wiley as a loving Dad for his daughters while they...Read More »
48 of 61 | Posted by: Michael Teitelman - La Jolla, CA

“I recall many a spirited racquetball game with Wylie years ago when we were both at the Salk. He was such a special person, one of my very favorite...Read More »
49 of 61 | Posted by: Gary Aston-Jones - SC

“To the Vale family... I am so saddened by the recent loss of Wylie. While I did not know him personally, I have followed his work for many years,...Read More »
50 of 61 | Posted by: Foster Olive - Tempe, AZ

“The Greeks anthropomorphized their Gods so they would feel some relative significance in their lives. No mere words can express the respect and love...Read More »
51 of 61 | Posted by: Dimitri - San Diego, CA

“For thirty-three years, Wylie guided my days with his confidence, generous support and wisdom. A loyal mentor who enriched my life with his...Read More »
52 of 61 | Posted by: Joan Vaughan - San Diego, CA

“Dear Betty, Elizabeth and Susannah, Words cannot express the sorrow we feel for the loss of our dear friend, colleague and mentor. Wylie was a...Read More »
53 of 61 | Posted by: Katherine and Dimitri Grigoriadis - CA

“My heart goes out to Wylie's family, colleagues, and friends. We have all lost a unique, warm, humorous, and bright influence in our lives. I will...Read More »
54 of 61 | Posted by: Paul Plotsky - Atlanta, GA

“I remember so clearly meeting Wylie for the 1st time at the ACNP conference on the Big Island of Hawaii over a decade ago. We had just started a...Read More »
55 of 61 | Posted by: Susan Learned - Pittsboro, NC

“What a nice, nice gentleman. Those times when we had the good fortune to see Wylie during La Jolla Historical Society events, we so enjoyed his good...Read More »
56 of 61 | Posted by: John & Melissa Bolthouse - CA

“A scientist of outmost quality, still with a simple and warm personality: inspired our work and our lives all these years. He will be present in our...Read More »
57 of 61 | Posted by: Achille Gravanis Heraklion Greece

“I met Wylie for the first time when I was a postdoc in awe of everyone at the Salk but particularly of him because of his then recent accomplishments...Read More »
58 of 61 | Posted by: Rita Valentino - Philadelphia, PA

“I am so very saddened by Wylie's passing. His work has been an inspiration to so may of us in neuroendocrinology, while his open, generous and...Read More »
59 of 61 | Posted by: Huda Akil - Ann Arbor, MI

“Whenever I'd hear Wylie's voice, as he was entering my work area to attend a meeting, I *KNEW* that when I would see his face it would have a smile...Read More »
60 of 61 | Posted by: Jane Sorensen - San Diego, CA

“WE ARE IN SHOCK AND DEEP SORROW. WE WILL BE THERE AS SOON AS THE DETAILS ARE DETERMINED. PAIGE AND ALLI WILL COME WITH US. PLEASE LET ME KNOW HOW WE...Read More »
61 of 61 | Posted by: GENE AND TEMPE PELL - TX


Wylie Walker Vale, Jr. passed away unexpectedly in his sleep in Hana on the island of Maui in Hawaii, where he and his wife Betty, who was there by his side, enjoyed many delightful times. Wylie and Betty were both born in Houston, Texas, where they first met in high school. Wylie attended Rice University, followed by Baylor College of Medicine, earning his Ph.D. in physiology and biochemistry in 1969. In June 1970, a few short months after they married, Wylie and Betty began an exciting new chapter of their lives when they moved to La Jolla, California where Wylie began working at the Salk Institute in the laboratory of Dr. Roger Guillemin, whom he followed from Baylor and who later became a Nobel Laureate. Wylie continued his work as a research biologist at the Institute for the remaining 41 years of his life. Wylie and Betty enjoyed a wonderful, rich, fun-filled life together in La Jolla with their two lovely daughters, Elizabeth and Susannah, whom Wylie loved and adored with all his heart. More recent chapters of his family life included the happy occasions of his daughters' marriages and the birth of his first grandchild, with whom he was able to share precious moments.

During his distinguished scientific career, Wylie discovered a number of hormones and growth factors that provide a molecular link between the brain and the endocrine and immune systems. These hormones are now recognized as key regulators of the stress response and as modulators of appetite, metabolism, growth, reproduction and cardiac function. Wylie's research has helped identify new avenues for the diagnosis and treatment of endocrine as well as behavioral disorders, including anxiety, depression and anorexia. Building on this seminal research, which was conducted at the Clayton Foundation Laboratories for Peptide Biology, Salk Institute, Wylie co-founded two biotech companies, Neurocrine Biosciences, a publicly-traded company in San Diego, CA, and Acceleron Pharma in Cambridge, MA; he was a member of the Board of Directors for both companies.

Wylie's accomplishments have been widely recognized by the scientific community. He was elected as a member of several prestigious organizations including the National Academy of Sciences (USA), the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the Institute of Medicine. He served as a past president of the Endocrine Society as well as of the International Society of Endocrinology. Wylie also received a number of awards, including the Edwin B. Astwood Lectureship Award and the Fred Conrad Koch Award from the Endocrine Society, the Clinical Lectureship Award (British Royal Soc. Med.), the 4th Yrjo Reenpaa Lecture Award from the Finnish Cultural Foundation, the H.B. van Dyke Award, Foundation IPSEN Prize in Endocrine Communication, the Henry Dale Medal presented by the British Society for Endocrinology and the Rolf Luft Award from the Karolinska Institute. In addition, Wylie received Distinguished Alumnus Awards from RIce University in 2000 and from St. John's School in 1995. Baylor College of Medicine recently informed him that he will receive a Distinguished Alumnus Award from the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences in April 2012.

From 1980 to the present, Wylie was a Professor and Head of the Clayton Foundation Laboratories for Peptide Biology at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies and, as of 2003, the Helen McLoraine Professor in Molecular Neurobiology. He was also an Adjunct Professor at the University of California at San Diego. During his tenure at the Salk Institute, he served as Chair of the Academic Council and as a member of the Board of Trustees. As a visionary and world-renowned expert in endocrinology and basic sciences, Wylie served on a number of advisory and program committees for key institutions including the Endocrinology Research Program of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease at the National Institutes of Health, the Laurentian Hormone Conference, Searle Scholars Program, Society for Neuroscience, Massachusetts General Hospital and the National Academy of Sciences, Institute of Medicine Contraceptive Research and Development. In addition to his activities outside the Salk Institute, Wylie trained and mentored many young scientists during his career; he leaves behind a tremendous legacy.

Wylie was passionate about life and encouraged others to take the time to enjoy all it had to offer. His personality was a unique combination of youthful exuberance and seasoned wisdom. At gatherings with family and friends, he was often the catalyst for stimulating and meaningful moments of intellectual fellowship, thoroughly enjoyed by all. A lifelong love of the outdoors led Wylie and his family to experience nature, both in exotic locales around the world, and in his beloved La Jolla, Hana, and the Texas Hill Country, where he especially enjoyed many good times over the years with the Texas members of his family.

His wife and daughters considered Wylie their anchor, upon whom they could always depend for loving support and wise counsel. He constantly inspired and challenged them and helped guide them through life with his optimistic, energetic approach, accompanied at all times by a healthy dose of wit. Their lives were enriched by this kind, genuine, gentle, insightful, loyal man, who provided a wonderful life for them with many exciting experiences and opportunities. Wylie was faithfully responsible to his family, which always occupied the most important niche in his multi-faceted life. They will be forever grateful to have had him for as long as they did. They loved him very much and his untimely death leaves an enormous void in their lives.

Wylie was a close friend and mentor to his brother Shannon and they shared deep, life-long passions for music, nature and conversation. The brothers and their families have always been devoted to each other and they relished their gatherings in La Jolla and Austin and especially on the North Fork of the Guadalupe River. Wylie was a loving son to his father Wylie Sr. and his late mother Alliene and his parents' pride in his accomplishments and character knew no bounds.

In addition to his wife, Wylie is survived by his first-born daughter Elizabeth Vale Gandhi, her husband Prashant Vasant Gandhi

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