The HudsonAlpha family lost a long-time and generous supporter with the passing of businessman, community leader and philanthropist John Jurenko, who died April 30, 2015, after a personal battle with Parkinson’s disease.

Mr. Jurenko was retired vice president of sales and marketing of Adtran, of which he was a co-founder with Mark C. Smith and HudsonAlpha co-founder Lonnie McMillian.

“John Jurenko was one of the first people I met when I came to Huntsville,” said HudsonAlpha President Rick Myers. “He was such a kind man. My father, who suffered from Parkinson’s disease for years, had recently passed away so I felt a special bond with John.

“We talked many times over the past seven years. Most of our conversations centered around his determination to help others who suffer from this disease. He believed in our work here and he inspired us to work harder. His wife Ruth and his daughters Janet and Carole are in our thoughts with sincere sympathy. John Jurenko was an amazing man.”

In 2011, Mr. Jurenko and his wife Ruth Jurenko donated $500,000 for joint research between HudsonAlpha and the University of Alabama at Birmingham Department of Neurology. Mr. Jurenko’s donation established the UAB-HudsonAlpha Collaborative Project in the Genetics and Genomics of Parkinson’s Disease, which is working toward discovering treatments that will slow, cure or even prevent the disease.

“My motivation for funding the UAB-HudsonAlpha project is to utilize the outstanding capabilities of the two institutions and their expert investigators,” Jurenko said at the time of the gift.

An active member of the HudsonAlpha Genome Circle, John Jurenko also supported the Lonnie McMillian Inspiring Excellence Fund to recruit and retain the very best researchers to HudsonAlpha.

He will be dearly missed by his HudsonAlpha family.

Persons wishing to make a gift to HudsonAlpha in memory of John Jurenko may do so at support.hudsonalpha.org.

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