She graduated from James Madison High School in 1935. Elvira received both a B.S and M.S from Cornell University. She was employed by the Burroughs Welcome Research Laboratories, Tuckahoe, N.Y., for many years as a biochemist, working in the laboratory of George Hitchings. Her work there subsequently led to the development of effective pharmaceutical treatments of malaria and gout. George Hitchings was later awarded the Nobel Prize in 1988 for the laboratories’ work on antiviral treatments, which had laid the foundation for the medication AZT. When Burroughs Welcome moved to North Carolina, Elvira made a decision to stay in the New York area. She continued working as a biochemist at Sloan Kettering, Rye, N.Y. She remained there until her retirement in 1977.
On a whim, she went to visit a friend, Nai Miller, then living in South Penobscot. Elvira fell in love with the beauty of the area and built a home on Johnson Point. She was very proud of her property, especially the small vineyard that she planted. Her talents as a chemist were then directed toward wine-making. Elvira loved to travel, having visited many places throughout the world. After many happy years, living on Johnson Point, she decided to downsize and move to Parker Ridge in Blue Hill. Elvira had been an active volunteer in a number of organizations in Blue Hill, including the Historical Society and the Blue Hill Library.
Elvira is survived by her sister, Elaine Keehn of Sammamish, Wash.; her son, William Leuszler and his wife, Janet Campbell, Bloomingburg, N.Y.; a stepdaughter, Allyson Boyle of St. Louis, Mo.; and a stepson, Keith Bass of Bedford, N.Y., in addition to many nephews and cousins. The family would like to thank both Blue Hill and Penobscot communities for welcoming Elvira to Maine. Although a native New Yorker, her experiences in Maine brought her great happiness and fulfillment. The family would also thank her many bridge partners and friends in the area.
Friends and family are being invited to gather for a celebration of her life 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., July 7, 2015, at Barncastle, 125 South St. Blue Hill.
Those who desire may make contributions in Elvira’s memory to the Blue Hill Public Library, 5 Parker Point Rd., Blue Hill, ME 04614.
Arrangements in care of Jordan-Fernald, 49 Main St., Blue Hill. Condolences may be expressed at www.jordanfernald.com.