Kenneth Standing

In Memoriam
Kenneth Standing, April 3, 1925 - March 21, 2019

The family of Dr. Kenneth Graham Standing is sad to announce that he died Thursday, March 21, at the age of 93. Ken is survived by his children, Mike and wife Brenda Janz, Tim, Liz and husband Clarence Jackson, Jon and wife Andrea Jackson; as well as grandchildren, Willem, Tannin, Rachel, Luke and Corin, and a large extended family. Parents, Graham and Elsie Standing, his brothers, Harold and John, and his sister Kathleen Taylor predeceased him. Ken was born in Winnipeg and grew up in Winnipeg's West End and attended Daniel McIntyre Collegiate. It was there that a science teacher inspired him to pursue a career in Physics. He entered the University of Manitoba on an Isbister Scholarship, but after one year of university felt the call to serve his country in the Second World War. He joined the navy and was posted to run the freshwater pumping station at an inland lake, for the navy base at Shelburne, Nova Scotia.

After the war, he was fortunate to be able to return to U of M and complete his undergrad degree. He then went to Princeton University and completed his A. M. and PhD in Nuclear Physics under Dr. Rubby Sherr. Ken joined the faculty at U of M 1953; here he designed, built and commissioned the Cyclotron Particle Accelerator, serving as Director from 1959 to 1974. In the late 1970s, he completely changed the focus of his research to Time-of-Flight Mass Spectrometry and its applications to study biological macromolecules, particularly proteins and peptides. Ken is widely regarded as a pioneer in this area, which is an essential component of the new field of proteomics. His collaborations with biologists focused on the solution of a wide range of biological problems. A notable example was the collaboration with the National Microbiology Lab during the SARS outbreak in 2002 and 2003. Ken's group made significant contributions to characterizing the virus by providing sequence information for much of the protein structure before the genome was sequenced. He received many awards and accolades during his distinguished career, including the Canadian Society for Mass Spectrometry Award for Distinguished Contributions to Mass Spectrometry, the Canadian Association of Physicists Medal for Outstanding Achievement in Industrial and Applied Physics, the American Chemical Society Field and Franklin Award for outstanding achievement in mass spectrometry, and the Encana Principal Award from the Ernest C. Manning Foundation, known as 'Canada's Nobel Prize'.

Ken was elected as a Fellow of the American Physical Society and of the Royal Society of Canada. He served as Member or Chair of various US National Institutes of Health Special Study Sections. He and his research team were awarded NSERC's Brockhouse Canada Prize for Interdisciplinary Research in Science and Engineering. The sponsors of the annual Enabling Technologies Symposium have also established the Ken Standing Award, in his honour. In 2009, Ken was awarded the highest honour the university can confer upon an individual, the honorary degree of Doctor of Science (honoris causa) by the University of Manitoba. Ken donated the personal prize money from the Manning award to further fund his research. Despite his accomplishments, he remained a modest man, sharing the limelight and recognizing his colleagues for their contributions, including as inventors on patents. Ken also mentored and welcomed many young Canadian scientists to his lab, as well as those from all over the world, including Russia, China, the US, Brazil and Sri Lanka. He was very proud of all of them and their accomplishments. Ken loved travel, and through his work he had the opportunity to spend a year in Bristol, England, as a Nuffield Fellow, and two separate years in France on sabbatical. His work also took him throughout Europe, the United States, India, Sri Lanka, Australia, Uzbekistan and Russia. Ken retired as a professor in 1995 but continued his research as Emeritus Professor well into his 80s, and continued his routine of walking to the university and going to his office/lab every day until his early 90s. He loved downhill skiing, enjoying many family ski trips, skiing well into his 70s. Our Dad was a proud eccentric, and a loving, kind and patient Father and Grandfather. He especially loved spending time with his family at the cottage he designed and helped build on his beloved Lake of the Woods. Grandpa adored his Grandchildren and loved to spend time with them, playing cards, doing puzzles, eating good food, reading to them and attending their school and sporting events. Our Dad had a curious mind, a wide range of interests, and was always interested in people and politics. He had an impish sense of humour until the end. He will be dearly missed. The family would like to thank the staff at Tuxedo Villa for their care and support for our Dad. A celebration of Ken's life will be held at 7:00 p.m. on May 6, 2019 at the Pavilion Atrium in Assiniboine Park, 55 Pavilion Crescent. INTEGRITY Cremation & Funeral Planning 204-295-5408 - IntegrityDeathCare.com

As published in the Winnipeg Free Press on Mar 30, 2019

Condolences & Memories (6 entries)

  • Dr. Standing’s passing is a tremendous loss for all of us. I was very fortunate to have Professor Ken Standing as my supervisor while working at the time-of-flight mass spectrometry laboratory, where the valuable experience gained with him benefits my entire life. Dr. Standing taught me a lifelong strategy to conduct the dedicated scientific research, and how to become a knowledgeable person in this area. I learned from him not only the knowledge commencing on fundamental chemistry to advanced mass spectrometric instrumentation, protein sequencing and proteomics, but also the inspirational work ethics. He was also a life model by treating others with genuine respect. We will never forget his kindness and support over past twenty years. Yi-Min She, Ottawa- Posted by: Yi-Min She (Student) on: Apr 23, 2019
  • My condolences to Elizabeth, John, Tim, Mike and all extended family. Today Ken would have turned 94! I was lucky to know him since 1993 when I came to his lab as a scientific 'refugee' from Russia. He was not just a Professor and a talented Scientist for me, but also a friend, a Teacher, and more! I don't want to repeat the good words already said above by others. Just a few episodes. Ken always brought all people working in his lab to ASMS conferences. He was not spoiled by large grants, so we had to live in hotels 4 people per room, sometimes sleeping in shifts. But at least we were there! In 1996 Ken got a tiny NATO grant to organize a mini-conference on studies of macromolecules. In order not to exceed the budget, some of us were asked to become airport shuttle drivers. Some conference attendants were surprised next day to see their driver whom they tried to tip turn into invited speaker. My family will always remember Ken as a great researcher, and a wise and generous man!- Posted by: Igor Chernushevich (Colleague) on: Apr 03, 2019
  • Couple of personal stories about Ken Standing and his influence on my life. There are many Russian-speaking folks, who were blessed to meet Ken. Their careers were shaped thanks to Ken’s vision and relentless support: Igor Chernushevich, Sasha Loboda, Andrew Krutchinskiy… to name a few. I think I was the last one from Russia, who was hired by him. Some fun facts about how he changed my life: Ken hired me knowing that I have no experience with mass-spectrometry whatsoever; actually, we have never met until I arrived in Winnipeg. You have to be true believer to do that! Needless to say - this changed my life. But my favorite story of him is not about science… about his perspective on life… endless optimism and love of life: Few years back driving on Pembina Highway I saw fire-track and ambulance at the car crush site with GOLDEN Ford Focus hatch back sitting on the side of the road. Yes, it was Ken’s car and he was saddened by the loss of it. At first he thought to maybe use taxi or rent a car on weekends or ask kids for help when needed to do shopping, etc… Couple of weeks later I was stunned to see very unusual car on Physics Department's parking lot and even stopped for a minute to look at it… Waaaay different from all surrounding greyish-blackish-whitish-bluish boring rides – there was a brand new RACING-RED Ford Focus hatch back. I had no doubts – it was his! Couple minutes later… Ken himself came down, and commented that his is the most visible car on the parking lot! This changed my life too – I know which car to buy when I’ll turn 88! Thanks Dr. Standing! Oleg Krokhin- Posted by: Oleg Krokhin (colleague) on: Apr 01, 2019
  • My condolences to the Standing family. I am a (relatively) young mass spectrometry researcher who met Ken only once, at his last 'Lake Louise' conference. It is a testament to his enormous impact on the global mass spectrometry research community that I, a new faculty member two full 'research generations' removed from Ken, was powerfully impacted by his pioneering work in bioanalytical mass spectrometry. And I am not alone - there are now literally thousands of researchers across the country and around the world standing on Ken's shoulders. His was a life of lasting, profound impact.- Posted by: Derek Wilson (Colleague) on: Apr 01, 2019
  • We will remember Ken as a generous and kind person, and a true pioneer in mass spectrometry. We will especially miss him at the Lake Louise Tandem Mass Spec Workshop, which he regularly attended for many years. We have fond memories of Ken and his wonderful family at Lake Louise.- Posted by: Lars Konermann (colleague) on: Apr 01, 2019
  • Ken Standing was a close friend and colleague (albeit separated in space, he in Winnipeg and I in Halifax) for many years. We used to meet every year at mass spectrometry conferences, including the annual workshops at Lake Louise. Quite apart from his stellar scientific reputation he was a kind man with a wry sense of humour, a life well lived for 96 years. My thoughts and condolences are with his family. Bob Boyd, Vancouver- Posted by: Robert Boyd (Colleague) on: Mar 31, 2019