The Mayo News

Oct 04th
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Michael Augustine Raftery,

Michael Augustine Raftery, aged 71, died on August 1 at his home in Chico, California. He was born in Galway to Michael and Ena Raftery of Shrule, Co Mayo, where he grew up. He excelled at school scholastically, winning a state scholarship from his Leaving Cert examination at Coláiste Einde in Galway. Also as a track athlete he won numerous 100 and 220 yard sprinting events. Michael obtained his undergraduate and PhD degrees at UCG, where he studied Science from 1953 to 1959. He then emigrated to the United States on receiving a post-doctoral Kennedy Fellowship at the University of California in Berkeley.
He moved with his family to Pasadena, California in 1964 to begin work at the California Institute of Technology.  There he replaced the legendary chemist, Linus Pauling. Professor Raftery’s work at Caltech spanned 23 years , during which time he did pioneering work in the areas of protein binding and biochemistry of the nervous system. He was one of the world’s leading experts in developing the molecular level description of acetycholine receptors that are found at nerve endings (synapses). His published work on his research amounts to over 200 scholarly papers.
He travelled widely and read papers at conferences worldwide. Among his many awards were doctorates from the University of Ireland at UCG and at UCD. On a number of occasions he gave talks to students at UCG. Due to his remarkable achievements he was invited to become a Fellow of the British Royal Society in 1986. The final years of his scientific career were spent at the University of Minnesota. On retiring in 2001 he moved back to Berkeley, California, where he lived for some time, before moving further north to Chico, California to be closer to  his family.
He is survived by his three children, M Daniel Raftery of W Lafayette, Indiana, Jennifer Raftery of Pasadena, and John Kevin Raftery of Chico, his daughters-in-law, Ana Raftery and Wren Raftery, three grandchildren, Alicia Raftery, Clara Raftery and Roberto Raftery of W Lafayette, and his ex-wife and friend, Judith Raftery of Chico. On this side of the Atlantic he is survived by his two brothers, Seán (Galway) and Gregory (Hanover), and cousin Bernadette (Dublin).
His late father, Michael Raftery, was a prominent member of Mayo County Council for many years. May Michael Augustine’s soul have peaceful rest.

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