"Professor Leboy was a rare creature," it read, "one of only a few women among many men."
She was the only tenured woman in the School of Dental Medicine for 21 years, they noted, her research including topics such as "bone-forming adult stem cells."
But her greatest impact may have been "her activism for other women scientists," they said. That advocacy started in 1970 with the founding of Women for Equal Opportunity at the University of Pennsylvania (WEOUP), which she chaired.
Eventually Penn became "a model for other academic institutions in its programs for women, with the founding of the Penn Women's Center, a Women's Studies Program, victim support and special services and increased campus safety for women," wrote her colleagues.
Professor Leboy played some part in all of those efforts, said her husband, Neal Nathanson.
Born in Brooklyn, she earned a bachelor's in zoology at Swarthmore College in 1957, a doctorate in biochemistry at Bryn Mawr College in 1962 and a postdoctoral fellowship at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel in 1966-67.
She was a research associate in Bryn Mawr's biology department in 1962-63 and in the biochemistry department at Penn's School of Medicine in 1963-66, before beginning her dental career.
She was an assistant professor in the dental school's biochemistry department from 1966 to 1970, and rose to full professor from 1976 to 2005. During that last job, she was also professor in Penn's graduate group in cell and molecular biology.
In the 1979-80 academic year, she was a visiting professor in the biochemistry and biophysics department at the University of California, San Francisco, and in 1989-90 was a visiting fellow at Wolfson College at Oxford University.
Besides her husband, she is survived by stepsons John and Daniel, stepdaughter Kate Nathanson, and six grandchildren. She was divorced from Eugene Leboy.
A memorial service at Penn is being planned.
Contact Walter F. Naedele at 215-854-5607 or email@example.com.