Professor Ian Wootton was educated at Weymouth Grammar School where his father was the maths teacher. His mother was the first female mayor of Weymouth. Ian won a scholarship to Cambridge to study chemistry and physics later transferring to medicine and graduating with special commendation from the examiners.
He commenced work as research assistant at Hammersmith Hospital and the Royal Postgraduate Medical School with Earl King, the founding father of clinical biochemistry in Britain. He served briefly in post-war Egypt with the Royal Army Medical Corps gaining the rank of Major before returning to Hammersmith. With the award of a Fulbright scholarship in 1951 he worked at the Sloan Kettering Institute in New York for 8 months, returning to Hammersmith as Senior Lecturer and Reader before finally taking the Chair of Chemical Pathology upon King's death in 1963.
He made important early contributions in the development of "normal" ranges, collecting reference data and applying statistical analyses. His national and international interlaboratory comparisons revealed the need for reference laboratories and materials. The first UK autoanalyzer was placed in the Department, and the rapidly expanding test repertoire, together with burgeoning automation, demanded computerisation. The Hammersmith group became leaders in developing and coding these early machines and continued with the innovative adoption of the newly available microprocessors, soon to become ubiquitous in PCs.
The textbook Microanalysis in Medical Biochemistry, originally written by Earl King in 1946, ran to six editions. Ian coauthored the third, then single handedly produced the fourth and fifth after King's death before jointly producing the sixth edition with Heather Freeman. Translated into myriad languages, this was an obligatory text in every department library throughout the world. Responsibility for co-editing the third edition of Biochemical Disorders in Human Disease with RHS Thompson also settled with Ian.
Consistently a champion of professional education, Ian played a pivotal role in first establishing and then examining for the Mastership of Clinical Biochemistry(MCB), with stakeholders the Association of Clinical Biochemists, the Royal College of Pathologists, the Royal College of Physicians and the Royal Institute of Chemistry. As a Fellow of all four bodies, he was uniquely qualified to catalyse this interaction. Students from all over the world came to study for the Diploma of Clinical Pathology and the ensuing diaspora of graduates staffed the medical laboratories of the world.
He served as president of the ACB 1975-6 and he was awarded the Wellcome Prize in 1977 for his contributions to the quality of laboratory practice. Ian was awarded honorary membership of the ACB in 1988. Additionally, Ian held the role of Chief Scientist for the Department of Health and Social Security from 1972-3 although he always claimed to prefer pathology to politics.
Ian was a beekeeper, a boat builder and on his retirement in 1982 became a book binder. His lifelong interest in navigation resulted in him becoming founding Registrar for the British Sundial Society and he played a major part in mapping (and often correcting) every sundial in the British Isles.
His wife and inseparable companion of 67 years, Veryan, died 5 years ago. Also a PhD biochemist, she worked with Sheila Sherlock studying liver metabolism in prisoners of war in post-war Germany. He is survived by 4 children, 7 grandchildren and 4 great grandchildren.