- Constantin “Tino” Rebeiz, 83, of Champaign, IL, passed away at 9:42 AM, Thursday, July 25, 2019 at Carle Foundation Hospital in Urbana.
There will be a funeral Mass at 10AM on Wednesday, July 31, 2019 at St. Patrick’s Church, 708 W. Main St., Urbana, IL. A visitation will be held from 5-7PM, Tuesday evening (July 30) at the church. Cremation will follow services, in accordance with his wishes. Renner-Wikoff Chapel is assisting the family with arrangements.
Tino was born July 11, 1936 in Beirut, Lebanon, a son of Anis and Valentine (Choueiri) Rebeiz. He is survived by Carole Conness to whom he was married on August 18, 1962 in Sacramento, California. Also surviving are three children, Paul (Eun Kyoung) Rebeiz of Champaign, IL, Natalie Rebeiz of Ennis, Ireland, and Mark (Tarcia) Rebeiz of Pittsburgh, PA; 6 grandchildren, Mirabelle, Benjamin, Madeline, Patrick, Kezia and Zander. Also surviving are two siblings, Chucri Rebeiz and May Rebeiz, both of Beirut, Lebanon.
Tino graduated from the American University of Beirut in 1959, majoring in Agricultural Sciences and immigrated to the US to study horticulture at UC Davis. There, he met lifelong love Carole, and received his PhD in 1965. Tino accepted a position at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1972 as a tenured Professor of Horticulture. He dedicated his life’s work to studying how chlorophyll, the molecule which makes leaves green, and allows them to harvest energy from the sun, is made. This led to the first synthesis of chlorophyll in a test tube, novel technologies for herbicides which make plants sensitive to sunlight, and therapies for skin cancer treatment (Photodynamic Therapy) that are in active use today. During his tenure at the University, he mentored countless students and doctoral researchers from across the world. He retired as an emeritus professor from the University of Illinois in 2005, after which he founded and became the president of the Rebeiz Foundation for Basic Research, which was dedicated to promoting progress in the field of chloroplast bioengineering. Throughout his career, he always sought to apply the fundamental concepts he discovered to better the future.
Memorial contributions may be made to Maryknoll Lay Missioners, P.O. Box 307, Maryknoll, NY 10545 (www.mklm.org). Condolences may be offered at www.renner-wikoffchapel.com.
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