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Longtime Iliff trustee Alberta Iliff Shattuck remembered for pioneering research to help children

Alberta Iliff-Shattuck was was presented with the Evans Award -- DU's highest alumni honor -- in 1957.

Iliff School of Theology Trustee Emeritus Alberta Iliff Shattuck passed away June 9, 2011, at the age of 101.

Born in Trinidad, Colo., in 1909, Alberta Iliff was the granddaughter of John Wesley Iliff Sr., Colorado’s first cattle king and the man for whom DU’s neighboring IIiff School of Theology is named. Her father, William Seward Illiff, co-founded the school in 1892.

Alberta earned a bachelor’s degree from DU in 1931 and a master’s degree from DU in 1932. In 1942, she graduated from the University of Colorado with a PhD in biochemistry — one of the first women in the state to earn the degree. She worked as a research scientist for 27 years at the CU Medical School on a longitudinal study of metabolism in children.

In 1957, the DU Alumni Association presented her with the Evans Award, the University’s highest alumni honor. The nonprofit National Grandparents Day Council selected her as its 2010 National Grandparent of the Year.

“She graduated from the University of Denver, transferring from Smith College in Massachusetts, at a time when women were still encouraged to stay home and mind the household. Not Alberta. She never bowed to convention. She had the desire and drive to make a change for the better in the world,” said Colorado Rep. Martin Turner at the Grandparents Day award ceremony. “She wanted to heal the suffering of children, and with her research and programs she helped countless children who suffered from asthma and other maladies.”

In 1959, Alberta married Dr. Robert Shattuck — more commonly known around Denver’s University Park neighborhood as “Doctor Bob.” The couple loved to travel, visiting Europe, China, South America, Australia, New Zealand, Alaska and Hawaii. Shattuck passed away in 1996.

A celebration of Alberta’s life was held June 30 in the Iliff Chapel with Rev. Paul Kottke, senior pastor at University Park United Methodist Church, officiating.

Iliff Shattuck is survived by her sons, Rod and Don, four grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren.


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