Please support the Valley News during the COVID-19 pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought the local economy — and many of the advertisers who support our work — to a near standstill. During this unprecedented challenge, we continue to make our coronavirus coverage free to everyone at because we feel our most critical mission is to deliver vital information to our communities.

If you believe local news is essential, especially during this crisis, we are asking for your support. Please consider subscribing or making a donation today. Learn more at the links below.

Thank you for your support of the Valley News.

Dan McClory, publisher

Heinz Valtin

Published: 10/18/2019 3:00:26 AM
Modified: 10/18/2019 3:00:15 AM

ALEXANDRIA, VA — Heinz Valtin, Professor Emeritus of Physiology at Dartmouth Medical School in Hanover, NH, died on October 11 at home in Alexandria, VA. He was 93. Before moving to Alexandria, he and his wife Nancy had lived in Hanover and Norwich for 50 years.

The youngest of three brothers, Valtin was born in 1926 in Hamburg, Germany, to a Lutheran father and a Jewish mother. In 1938, just before Kristallnacht, the three boys fled Nazi Germany with their mother. Their father remained in Germany and the family never reunited.

After arriving in the United States, Valtin quickly learned English and thrived at the Quaker-run George School and at Swarthmore College. In addition to academics, he shone in theater and athletics and for many years held the Swarthmore College pole vault record, a feat he considered more amusing than impressive. He met his great love and future wife, Nancy Heffernan, while in college. They shared a long life of music, art, and travel, and had been married for 63 years when she died in 2015. Nancy Valtin was a beloved kindergarten teacher at the Marion Cross School for many years.

Valtin obtained an M.D. degree at Cornell Medical School and decided to pursue a career in medical research and teaching. In 1957 he joined the Physiology Department of Dartmouth Medical School, eventually holding two honorary chairs, and was chair of the Department of Physiology from 1977 to 1988.

Dr. Valtin had a long and stellar career in academic medicine. His pioneering observations on the actions of the hormone vasopressin on water regulation in the kidney influence research in renal physiology to this day. He wrote three highly influential textbooks on renal function, which were translated into several languages. The books were used by medical schools around the country and abroad and were for many years the standard texts for the teaching of health and disease in the kidney.

In one of his last publications, Dr. Valtin debunked the widely held belief that one should drink at least eight 8-oz glasses of water per day. This article received immediate and worldwide attention. In spite of this, and somewhat to his chagrin, the unsubstantiated recommendation persists to this day.

Dr. Valtin believed that scientists have an obligation to train the next generation of researchers. He was revered as a teacher and had a warmth and generosity and a deep understanding of the selflessness required to nurture young scientists and help them launch their own independent careers. He has been described by colleagues as one of the last of a generation of “gentleman scientists” for whom humanity, kindness and generous spirit were as important as being a successful scientist.

Heinz Valtin is survived by his two children, Tom and Alison, and three grandchildren, Leah and Tommy Valtin-Erwin and Jamie Valtin.

Valley News

24 Interchange Drive
West Lebanon, NH 03784


© 2019 Valley News
Terms & Conditions - Privacy Policy