Obituary: Sweet, professor of obstetrics and gynecology, 74

Frederick Sweet, PhD, professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, died Thursday, March 7, 2013, following a stroke. He was 74.

Since joining the School of Medicine in July 1971, Sweet carried out research in chemical synthesis and biochemistry associated with birth control. Similarly, he applied chemical synthesis of new chemotherapeutic agents for treating breast and ovarian cancers. His biomedical research projects during almost four decades were carried out in collaboration with research laboratories in England, France, The Netherlands, Hungary, Australia and China.


He served on the editorial board of Endocrine Reviews and the international journal Steroids, among others. He also authored articles on topics ranging from science to ethics to politics.

Following a fellowship in obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Kansas Medical Center, Sweet studied breast and ovarian cancers at the Sloan-Kettering Institute for Cancer Research in Rye, N.Y. He earned a doctorate at the University of Alberta in Canada before joining the Washington University School of Medicine faculty as an assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology. He was named professor in 1983.

Sweet co-founded the medical school’s Office of Environmental Health and Safety, chaired the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology’s Research Division for five years and served on the Committee for Medical School Admissions for 20 years. He also served on the Disclosure Review Committee (managing financial conflicts of interest).

In 2010, Sweet received a Fulbright grant to investigate the role medical doctors played in the genocide of Bosnia-Herzegovina, for a book he was writing with his wife, Rita Marika Csapo-Sweet. He and Csapo-Sweet were longtime residents of the Dogtown neighborhood in St. Louis.

In addition to his wife, survivors include daughters Sarah Sweet and Cassandra Sweet; sons Brennan Sweet and Joshua Sweet; a brother, Bob Sweet; and four grandchildren.

A service was held at Berger Memorial Chapel in St. Louis followed by burial at the United Hebrew Cemetery in University City. Memorials may be made to the University of Missouri, St. Louis, Center for International Studies – Sweet International Projects.