Herwig von Morzé died at his Los Altos home, surrounded by his family, on the morning of December 20 after a long battle with multiple myeloma. He was 75.
A resident of the South Bay for the last 38 years, he spent his first 37 1/2 years in Austria and Germany. Born in Klagenfurt, Carinthia, in 1937, he was educated at the University of Vienna, where he earned his bachelor’s degree and his Ph.D. in organic chemistry, completing a dissertation on the spectral mass of heterocyclic compounds in 1967. Starting in 1965, he worked as an arson investigator for the Austrian federal police, followed by stints with pharmaceutical companies. In addition to German and English, he spoke Italian fluently.
He married his wife of 42 years, Elisabeth, in Vienna in 1970. In 1974, they resettled in Palo Alto, California, where he began a long career as a patent agent for Syntex Corporation. He remained at Syntex until the company was dissolved in 1995. He counted many of his colleagues at Syntex among his dearest friends, remaining in close contact with them for the rest of his life. He worked for Heller Ehrman White and McAuliffe, also as a patent agent, from 1995 to 2003, followed by a period of private practice which he continued until the end of his life.
An avid hiker, he loved to walk for hours in the Rancho San Antonio County Park, accompanied by his wife and two sons. He had an eclectic, expansive intellect. During his struggle with cancer, he wrote that “the quadrangle of philosophy, humor, art, and music serves as a floating cushion keeping me above the ever-increasing groundswell of challenges.” He will be greatly missed by his wife, Elisabeth von Morzé of Los Altos, California; by his son, Cornelius von Morzé, of San Francisco; by his son and daughter-in-law, Leonard von Morzé and Caroline Roberts, of Cambridge, Massachusetts; and by his siblings Gert von Morzé, Ina Hofstatter, and Elke Kogelnik, all of Austria.
Services have been held. In lieu of flowers, please send a donation in his name to The Friends of Deer Hollow Farm or The Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation.