In Remembrance of Raymond Zilinskas

September 19, 2018 • updated January 30, 2019

Raymond Zilinskas

Raymond Zilinskas

We are very saddened by the recent passing of our long-time colleague and friend Dr. Raymond Zilinskas. Ray was one of the world’s foremost authorities on chemical and biological weapons, and devoted much of his professional career to mitigating their dangers.

The author of many scholarly publications, including the definitive study of The Soviet Biological Weapons Program, co-authored with Milton Leitenberg, Ray was passionate about many things. He was equally at home underwater, on the tennis court, or in a hazmat suit. He was an avid scuba diver and underwater photographer, a savvy tennis player, and a connoisseur of fine California wines. He also loved to forage for mushrooms, although I confess to being wary of consuming some of the delicacies he collected.

As my CNS colleague Sandy Spector recalls, Ray was always ready to take his research into the field, even if that meant plucking fleas from a captured rodent in search of bubonic plague or inspecting the dilapidated storage facility of a post-Soviet Anti-Plague Institute. He also had a knack for writing about overlooked dimensions of the BW problem, including agro-terrorism, synthetic biology, and a major article in Scientific American on counterfeit Botox.

For two decades, Ray was the “go-to” person at CNS on all things related to CBW. I am not sure whether he was most proud of his major book publications, his tennis serve, his role as an inspector for the UN Special Commission on Iraq, or his contribution to plot developments involving biological agents on the hit television show The Americans.

A friend and mentor to students, faculty, journalists, and government officials, he will be missed greatly.

Bill Potter

Director, James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies and
Sam Nunn and Richard Lugar Professor of Nonproliferation Studies
Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey
460 Pierce Street
Monterey, CA 93940, USA
Tel: (831) 647-4154
Fax: (831) 647-3519
Email: [email protected]

Remembering Dr. Raymond Zilinskas

We welcome you to share your thoughts and memories of Dr. Raymond Zilinskas here

To Dr William C. Potter, Director

We received with deep sympathy the sad news of the passing of Dr Raymond Allan Zilinkas in September, 2018.

The war against international nonproliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction has indeed lost one of its strongest generals. A longstanding pioneer and distinguished reference in chemical and biological weapons program, Dr Zilinkas tireless dedication to mentorship and networking has undeniably propelled this field in Mali and many other countries with our participation at Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) annual meetings. His contribution, and knowledge will always be remembered by my institution, especially by his mentee Ms DAO Kadiatou.

We express our deepest condolences to you, your institution and his family.

May god rest his soul in peace!

Pr Mamadou Souncalo Traore MD-MPH-PhD
Director General of the National lnstitute for Research in Public Health, Mali
Letter of condolences, January 30, 2019

To Dr Ziliskas’s colleagues at CNS, friends and family,

After hearing the sad news, I was at a loss of words. Although I only had the honor to work closely with him for one summer, Dr. Zilinskas had profoundly influenced me both as an estimable scholar and an amiable professor. It still felt like yesterday when my dear colleague Ariel and I stepped into Dr. Zilinskas’ office for the first time and were amazed by his biosafety suits collections as well as him telling us the story behind them under the warm, bright, mid-June Californian sunlight. Throughout the summer, Dr. Zilinska kindly offered us his erudite guidance for our research projects, shared his wonderful thoughts and stories, and supported us warmly. Working with him had been such a pleasure and made me confirmed my passion in this field which he introduced me to. When bidding farewell on my last day, Dr. Zilinskas kindly gifted me one of his work on a topic pertinent to my on-going thesis project and said “hope to see you again in Monterey, soon.” Although the words went void, Dr. Zilinskas’ love and passion for his research, life, and teaching will always be remembered by his colleagues, families and friends, and carried on by his students. While Dr. Zilinskas’ passing away is a truly heartbroken loss for us all and especially his colleagues, families, and friends, remember that no one we love really ever leave us.

I send my deepest condolences and hopes this brings you comfort,

Yun Zhang, 2018 Summer Intern, September 19, 2018

To Dr. Ziliskas’s coworkers at CNS, friends and family,

It is with great sadness that I have been informed of the passing of an amazing teacher and researcher who was Dr. Zilinskas. The feeling of loss is even greater as I only left CNS a month ago, telling him my goodbyes and thanking him for everything he had done for the other interns and myself. During my short time at CNS this summer, my colleague Yun Zhang and I were lucky enough to work closely with him. I got to know him not only as a supervisor but more personally as well. He treated us with kindness, he guided and helped us with our research throughout the summer, showed us around Monterey and shared with us memories of the many adventures he went on around the world. It has been an honor and a true pleasure to get to know him. It is a great loss for all us past students but more importantly for his colleagues and family.

I send you my sincere condolences,

Ariel Du Temple, 2018 Summer Intern, September 19, 2018

Raymond Zilinskas with 2018 Summer Interns Yun Zhang (left) and Ariel Du Temple (right)

Raymond Zilinskas with 2018 Summer Interns Yun Zhang (left) and Ariel Du Temple (right)

Comments Are Closed