Obituary: Professor Mike Service

News article 12 Dec 2017

It is with great sadness that LSTM has learned of the death of Professor Mike Service, who has passed away aged 84.

Born in 1933 in South Norwood, just outside London, he enrolled at Imperial College in 1952 to study zoology and applied entomology. Upon graduating with BSc (Honours) in 1955, Professor Service left for Nigeria where he worked for the Malaria Service, Ministry of Health in Lagos. Returning home to marry his wife Wendy in 1957 he continued working in Lagos until 1960 when he and his wife moved to Kaduna to work for the West African Institute of Trypanosomiasis Research.

While in Kaduna he studied for his PhD with the University of London before leaving Nigeria in 1963. Back in the UK he worked for Dorset Naturalist’s Trust at Brownsea Island, a National Trust property to study, advise and control biting insects, mainly mosquitoes, that were troubling staff and visitors, before moving to the Natural Environment Research Council’s research station, Monks Wood Experimental Station near Cambridge. It was at Monks Wood that a WHO grant enabled him to study the behaviour of Africa’s most important malaria vector, Anopheles gambiae.

Professor Service joined LSTM in 1973 where he saw his role divided between lecturing, research and international travel. He lectured all aspects of medical entomology to those on diploma courses as well as numerous MSc students, prompting him to write his first student-oriented text book on medical entomology in 1980. He went on to travel overseas for research throughout his time at LSTM and participated in several WHO working groups on vectors and their control, visiting an incredible 55 countries professionally.

He retired from LSTM in 1997 but went on to visit often to catch up with colleagues and keep in touch with new developments as well as continuing to give lectures and some practical classes. He received a number of awards, including Sir Samuel Rickard Christophers Medal in 1997 from the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene and the Harry Hoogstraal Medal in 2002 from the American Society for Tropical Medicine and Hygiene.

LSTM’s Director Professor Janet Hemingway said: “Mike was a long-standing member of the LSTM vector biology department and one of the last great field entomologists with an extraordinary breadth of expertise. He produced a number of seminal textbooks and is still fondly remembered by the generations of field entomologists that he taught. He will be dearly missed by his colleagues both here in the UK and throughout the world.”

Professor Service is survived by his wife Wendy, his children and their families.