Palisades’ Dr. Keith Nolop, 63, Dies; His 3 Cats Need a Home

Palisadian Dr. Keith Nolop suffered head injuries in a bicycle accident on May 6 in Pacific Palisades. He died on May 31. The family wrote: “Keith put up a valiant fight, but nature won the war as it always does.”

Nolop was born in Minneapolis in 1953 and moved with his family to Mobridge, South Dakota in 1960. From an early age, he was interested in science and math and earned perfect grades from elementary school through college. In high school he was an Eagle Scout, first-chair baritone in All-State Band, a representative to Boys State (where he captured first place in the comprehensive written examination) and the state’s highest scorer in the National Merit Scholar competition. After graduating at the top of his class in 1971, he studied biology at the University of South Dakota.

Dr. Keith Nolop with his cats, that are now in need of a home.
Dr. Keith Nolop with his cats, that are now in need of a home.

At USD, he was editor of the school newspaper and selected to Phi Beta Kappa honorary society as a junior. Keith graduated summa cum laude in 1975 and attended Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, where he was first in his class.

After medical school, Keith worked in medical research and drug development, first with the University of Louisville and then 11 years with Schering-Plough. He worked as Chief Medical Officer for three biotechnology companies: CoTherix, Plexxikon and Kite Pharma. In recent years he was an independent consultant.

His work included the blockbuster drug Nasonex, a groundbreaking melanoma treatment, and other highly-engineered cancer therapies. He also wrote more than 50 peer-reviewed articles and received several patents.

Keith loved skiing, hiking (especially Yosemite), wine tasting, Latin music, international travel, movies and playing the bass guitar. He also was active in animal rights organizations, including serving on the board of Voice For The Animals.

Never married, he was engaged to Sonia Jimenez in 2011; but she drowned while they were vacationing in Costa Rica. After Sonia’s death, Keith provided financial support and life advice to her adopted children, Roberto Jose Tercero and Martha Karina Tercero of San Francisco.

He is survived by his mother, Barbara Nolop of Peoria, Arizona; brothers Bruce (wife Susan) Nolop of New York and Neil (Hege) Nolop of Houston; and nephews Christopher, Michael, Andre and Nathan Nolop. He was preceded in death by his father, Francis Nolop.

Keith was the owner of three affectionate cats that now need new homes. If you can help, please contact Caitlin Dolan, Voice For The Animals Foundation at or call (310) 392-5153.

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