PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – Friends are remembering the 82-year-old man who died in the hospital after what Portland police described as an unprovoked attack in downtown Portland in June.

Authorities are seeking justice against the man who they say is responsible for taking Donald Pierce’s life. According to Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Schmidt, Pierce and 88-year-old Edward Lichenstein were waiting for a bus at Southwest 5th and Hall when they were attacked. The suspect, Keefer White, “repeatedly punched and kicked both” men in an assault stopped by officers on patrol in the area.

Now, those who knew Pierce closely are hoping to honor his life.

Donald Pierce was a professor at Oregon State University for three decades — a professor of statistics of bomb victims who then became a victim of violence himself.

His friends remember him as a renowned and remarkable researcher.

“You do hear about these senseless things, but he was a real person with a real life and a remarkable life, and he just didn’t deserve this kind of end,” said Dan Schafer, OSU Professor of Statistics.

“He was a world expert in the statistics of radiation, health, epidemiology, and he made really significant contributions to the theory and the methods of statistics,” Schafer explained.

Pierce was at the forefront of studying the impacts of radiation on atomic bomb survivors in Hiroshima, Japan.

“He really commanded a lot of respect because he really knew what he was talking about at OSU,” Schafer said.

Schafer said Pierce first took him under his wing when he was a new assistant professor at OSU.

“I probably wouldn’t have survived academically if it wasn’t for his help,” he said.

Outside of the department, Schafer said Pierce enjoyed his season tickets to Beaver football and basketball games, loved listening to music and going out for bike rides. One thing Schafer will always remember about Pierce — his gentle and sincere smile.

“He was very laid back and easy-going socially and would laugh at other people’s jokes and make his own jokes,” Shafer said.

Schafer hadn’t seen Pierce for four years but was supposed to see him this week. They had planned for Pierce to travel to Bend for a visit and to help Schafer with a book he’s writing.