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Thursday, February 19, 1998 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Medal Of Merit Honors 4 Distinguished Careers

The AP

OLYMPIA - It's no Nobel Prize - he already has one of those - but a Washington researcher who pioneered the bone-marrow transplant procedure that saves countless lives is honored to be recognized as one of the state's most distinguished citizens.

Dr. E. Donnall Thomas, who headed the largest marrow transplant program in the world at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center for 15 years, was among four people to be awarded the Washington Medal of Merit yesterday during a joint session of the Legislature.

Others receiving the award recognizing people whose extraordinary achievements benefit others were apple industry leader Grady Auvil, artist Jacob Lawrence and the late Stanley O. McNaughton, a philanthropist who died just days after being selected to receive the medal.

They join prestigious company. The previous 14 recipients include former U.S. Sens. Warren G. Magnuson and Henry M. Jackson, Dr. William Hutchinson and KING-TV founder Dorothy Bullitt.

Thomas, who shared the 1990 Nobel Prize for medicine with a Boston researcher, said it was appropriate that Hutchinson and Magnuson were honored in past years because they were instrumental in helping Seattle's Hutchinson Center become one of the world's leading cancer-research facilities.

Thomas became the first head of the Division of Oncology at the University of Washington School of Medicine, and later served in a similar capacity at the Hutchinson Center from 1974 to 1989. He

continues to do research at the center and recently published a textbook on bone-marrow transplantation.

Auvil, co-founder of the Auvil Fruit Co. in Orondo, Douglas County, in 1928, is considered a visionary who has moved Washington's apple industry into prominence. He has endeared himself to employees by sharing as much as 40 percent of his profits.

Lawrence is a painter and UW professor emeritus whose work is collected and shown by museums and corporations around the world. He has chronicled America in historical series and individual works.

McNaughton, the late president and chief executive officer of PEMCO Financial Services for 30 years, guided the firm's charitable contributions, including more than 1,000 scholarships to students pursuing careers in education. His award was presented to his widow, Clare, and son, Stan W. McNaughton.

Copyright (c) 1998 Seattle Times Company, All Rights Reserved.

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