George Marzluf ’53, Teacher, Scientist, Researcher

Dr. George A. Marzluf was born on September 29,1935. He spent his entire childhood living in the Hilltop neighborhood of Burgess Avenue in Columbus, Ohio. Throughout his life, no matter where it took him and what he was doing, George always considered himself a product of the Hilltop and was proud of his Westside roots.

George was the oldest of four siblings born to Faun and Paul Marzluf. He graduated from West High School in 1953 and attended The Ohio State University. While a student, he served as President of Civitas as well as in the Student Senate. He graduated in 1957, Summa Cum Laude, receiving a Bachelor of Science Degree. While at OSU, he joined the Army National Guard leading him to attend and graduate from the Officer’s Candidate School at Fort Sill, Oklahoma. He then served as a lieutenant in the Ohio National Guard, eventually rising to the rank of Captain.

After teaching at Cleveland’s John Adams High School for one year, he returned to OSU and received his Master’s Degree. He continued his studies at Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland and received his Ph.D. in 1965. After teaching several years at Marquette University, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Dr. Marzluf returned to OSU’s Department of Biochemistry in 1970. He would remain on the faculty of OSU for over four decades.

George was both a gifted teacher and researcher. He was able to obtain strong grant funding for his varied programs, as well as mentoring over 36 graduate students, including 14 PhD’s while at OSU. His prolific research career and accomplishments were widely recognized by many. He was awarded the NIH Career Development Award as well as The Ohio State University Distinguished Scholar Award in 2000. This competitive award is the highest recognition given to a senior faculty member who has exhibited an aptitude for exceptional scholarly achievements.

Based on this outstanding record, Dr. Marzluf served as the Chair of the Legacy Department of Biochemistry between the years of 1986 and 2000. As a faculty member, he also served in the University Senate, the Senate Rules Committee, the Faculty Council, the Distinguished Scholar Awards Committee, and others. He was known for being well organized, challenging, and highly effective by everyone who knew him.

Eventually George retired from being a full-time professor in 2011, but continued to teach as an adjunct until 2015. Overall, George was a very successful scientist, being published well over 100 times and was recognized in 2008 for the faculty award in addition to the others previously mentioned.

When not working in the classroom and laboratory, George was busy as a lifelong outdoorsman; his primary passion was fly-fishing. He authored books, fly fished all over the world, and was an active member of Central Ohio Fly Fishers and the Zanesfield Rod and Gun Club for many years. He was a rare individual, who was comfortable without creature comforts in the most remote places in the world – snowbound in Alaska fishing for Salmon while on the lookout for Grizzlies, or along the Amazon River in Brazil looking for crocodiles, or primitive camping anywhere fishing could be had! So it may be surprising that he was equally happy and comfortable at a symphony, the opera, or viewing theater on Broadway.

His passions often moved into new areas, as George was a lifelong learner. In his final years, he continued to learn new things: deciding to take up Astronomy, joining book clubs, classes, and even learning new languages on his own.

George was also a family man. While in Columbus, before leaving for Graduate School, he married Sandra Tesmer. They had three children: Bruce, Julie, and Phillip. In 1971, George married Dr. Jackie Rice, and they had a son, Glenn. His last marriage in 1998, which was the longest, was to Dr. Zarife Sahenk. Zarife and George lived in Clintonville and were able to travel extensively until George’s health started failing in 2016.

He had a love of reading, good wine, and rarely passed on a good desert. His friends and family miss his smile, wit, and sense of humor. George died on May 4, 2017.  He would be very pleased and proud of being honored in the West High School Hall of Fame. He regularly attended his West High Class Reunions and always considered himself to be a west sider.

Elaine Marzluf McLinn, sister, Class of 1955, nominated George before her death.