Dr. Cynthia A. Rask M.D.
Dr. Cynthia A. Rask, 63, San Francisco, CA, died Monday July 24, 2017 at home. She was born on March 27, 1954 to Kenneth H. and Lorraine (Crehan) Rask in Hibbing, MN. She will be tremendously missed by all who knew her. She was a world traveler, a responsible global citizen and a loyal and trusted colleague. A graduate of Hibbing High School, Cornell University and the University of Minnesota Medical School, Dr. Rask completed her residency in Internal Medicine and Neurology at the University of Rochester, and was board certified in Neurology and Clinical Neurophysiology. She also held post-graduate fellowships at the University of Minnesota. Cynthia had an esteemed career at the Food & Drug Administration including being a Director within the Office of Cellular Tissue and Gene Therapies. Her work at the FDA supported the advancement of hundreds of novel medicines, and she was the recipient of 8 different FDA awards in recognition of this work. After leaving FDA, Cynthia consulted with numerous companies developing drugs to treat neurological disorders, as well as continuing her support of the development of gene therapies. Many thousands of patients in clinical trials benefited from the careful and expert work of Cynthia, and it is likely that tens of thousands of patients will benefit in the future from new medicines that she has helped shepherd into the clinic.
Not only was Cynthia a world renowned epileptologist and drug development expert, perhaps most importantly, she was a generous and loving friend to many. She was instrumental in supporting the Aerie Africa home in Soddo, Ethiopia and provided medical care to many children. Cynthia lovingly sponsored a young boy, Sensible Kefyalw, at Aerie Africa. She also served on the boards of major corporations and charities such as Zynerba and Aerie Africa.
Cynthia enjoyed travelling throughout the world, had an impeccable sense of fashion and style and adored her cats, particularly Jack.
She is survived by her sister Pamela Rask, Stuart, FL, niece Gabriela Rask, New York, NY, step-brother, Ben (Debbie) Castagneri, Hibbing, also their children, Meagan (Tom) Hill, Bemidji, MN, and Katie Purdy, Balkan, MN, five first cousins; Dawn (Tom) Tiemeier, New Lebanon, OH, Sandy (Rick) Hall of Madison, AL., Lisa (Chris) Brady, Barrington Falls, IL, Mark (Laura) Long, Wayne, IL., and Greg (Leslie) Rask, Maple Grove, MN., an uncle, John (Elaine) Rask, Maple Grove, MN along with many nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her parents, and brother, Eric Rask
Per the family’s wishes, there will be graveside services held at 11:00am, Saturday, September 9, 2017 at Warba-Feeley Cemetery in Warba, MN. In lieu of flowers donations can be made in Cynthia’s honor to the Aerie Africa orphanage in Soddo, Ethiopia at www.aerieafrica.org or to the Epilepsy Foundation at www.epilepsy.com. Arrangements are with the Dougherty Funeral Home of Hibbing.