Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Murder of Howard Appledorf

Honoring Howard's memory

The Nutrition Today article on the case described Appledorf as a kind of split personality with a "fascinating nutritionist Dr. Jekyll" and a "gay and insatiable Mr. Hyde." The article called San Francisco "the favorite rendevous [sic] of the Mr. Hydes of America" and said that when Bown, Everson and Kennedy were jailed for forgery "the trio became a deadly threat to the Mr. Hyde in Appledorf's life." The piece referred to the late professor as having an "aberrant predelection [sic]" and a "distressing and aberrant weakness."

Several people wrote to Nutrition Today protesting these descriptions, comparing the article's tone to that of tabloids like the National Enquirer. One letter writer derided the "character assassination" of Dr. Appledorf and said that such an offensive depiction had "no place in a journal which purports to be scientific." Another writer opined, "Sexual preferences have no relationship to professional achievement," continuing, "The emphasis on Dr. Appledorf's personal life in the article overshadowed the significant contributions which he made as a nutrition scientist." Still another stated, "Nutrition Today has published a despicable and scurrilous attack on the memory of Professor Howard Appledorf."

Nutrition Today replied, "When, in an effort to conceal an aspect of his private life, an individual submits to blackmail and is then murdered, his privacy becomes forfeit. For an editor to conceal the pertinent facts that caused the tragedy would be devious, deceptive and censorial." However, the reply did not address the issue of reader response to the charged language used by the journal in discussing the "pertinent facts" of the case.

Howard Appledorf's students and fellow professors have not forgotten him. Bob Bates believes Appledorf contributed greatly to the popularity of the University of Florida's Food Science and Nutrition Department. "We have a very successful program now, about 1,000 undergraduates in the program and a lot of that is to Howie's credit," he said.

To recognize the nutritionist's achievements, the Howard Appledorf Memorial Scholarship was founded in 1983. Full-time undergraduate students with a minimum 3.0 GPA are eligible to apply for it. Applicants receive it on the basis of academic achievement, leadership potential and financial need. It is a fitting way to honor the memory of a man known for his generosity and commitment to education.

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