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Dr. Frank H. Tyler, 78, a founder of the University of Utah School of Medicine and a world-renowned specialist in endocrine and metabolic disorders, died Wednesday, Sept. 7, 1994, of pancreatic cancer at University Hospital.

He was especially known for his work on muscular dystrophy and other neuromuscular diseases.Dr. Tyler was chief clinician on the very first extramural research grant awarded to a university by the National Institutes of Health. Funding for a study of metabolic and hereditary disorders began with a $100,000 grant in 1946 and was renewed annually for 33 years.

As professor of internal medicine and first chief of the Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism from 1948 to 1981, Dr. Tyler was instrumental in the planning for the U. hospital, which opened in 1965. Six months later, the Clinical Research Center was launched under his direction; he remained as director until 1977.

A recipient of a medical degree from Johns Hopkins University, Dr. Tyler joined the U. School of Medicine faculty in 1947 and twice served as acting dean. He received the best professor award from the school's classes of 1971 and 1978.

He was author of more than 250 professional published articles, book chapters and abstracts and served in many national editorial capacities. At the time of his death, Dr. Tyler was still actively involved in teaching, clinical care and as a research adviser - long after the time when most physicians would have retired - medical school officials said.

"Frank Tyler brought more than international prestige to our faculty. He was an institutional treasure - the last member of the dedicated group of faculty which put Utah medicine on the map - and was a revered mentor to generations of medical students and residents," said Walter Stevens, dean of the School of Medicine.

A memorial service will be held at 4:30 p.m. Monday, Sept. 12, in the U. Fine Arts auditorium. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations in Dr. Tyler's name to the Division of Endocrinology, Metabolism and Diabetes at the U. School of Medicine, 50 N. Medical Drive, Salt Lake City, UT 84132.