Vincent Massey—Vince to all who knew him—lived life very fully. Carol Strickland, the wife of a former graduate student of Vince's, captured his vitality for many of us. ‘The stop-flow might have been Vince's favorite research tool, but in life, he was all flow without stop. I can still see Vince—his eyes twinkling—practically chomping the stem of his pipe in two as he guffawed at something that struck him as funny. What a bon vivant he was! Whatever he did, he did full-bore, “sucking all the marrow out of life”, as Thoreau put it.’
Vincent Massey gained international distinction in physical biochemistry. His pioneering efforts to relate flavin chemistry to flavin enzymology resulted in a new understanding of flavin charge-transfer complexes, free radicals in flavoproteins, oxygen reactivity of flavins, the interactions of the flavin ring structure with proteins, and the classification of flavoenzymes. His discovery that Straub diaphorase is in fact lipoamide dehydrogenase and that it functions in the pyruvate and 2-oxoglutarate dehydrogenase complexes was a milestone in understanding metabolism. His development of totally innovative methodology for the determination of intermediates in enzyme catalysis through transient kinetics made flavoproteins one of the best understood enzyme families. This allowed him to define the mechanism by which the drug allopurinol inhibited xanthine oxidase; this was one of the first instances in which the effects of a drug on an enzyme were understood chemically. Vince had a great human impact on science by inspiring and training others and by his determination to maintain the integrity of the scientific method as well as to foster basic research.