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by Victoria Gilman
July 12, 2004 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 82, Issue 28


Winifred Burks-Houck, past-president of the National Organization for the Professional Advancement of Black Chemists & Chemical Engineers (NOBCChE), died on May 6 at the age of 53.

Burks-Houck earned a bachelor's degree in chemistry from Dillard University, New Orleans, and a master's degree in organic chemistry from Atlanta University. She spent most of her career as an organic chemist at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory working on environmental protection projects.

For NOBCChE, Burks-Houck was recognized for her efforts to actively establish the organization on the West Coast. She was the first chair of the San Francisco Bay Area Chapter from 1984 to 1990, and organized numerous educational and professional development activities for the local community.

In 1991, Burks-Houck was elected national vice president of NOBCChE, a position she held until becoming president in 1993. She served for four consecutive terms until stepping down in 2001.

During her tenure as president, Burks-Houck expanded the organization to include many new professional and student chapters. She also developed a strong relationship between NOBCChE and ACS that has enhanced both organizations' outreach programs for minority chemists.

Burks-Houck is survived by her husband, Morris. Joined ACS in 1994.


Murray Goodman, professor of chemistry and biochemistry at the University of California, San Diego, and a pioneer in the field of peptide chemistry, died on June 1 from pneumonia. He was 75.

Born and raised in New York City, Goodman received a B.S. degree from Brooklyn College in 1950. He earned a Ph.D. from UC Berkeley in 1953. After graduation, he conducted postdoctoral research at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and later at Cambridge University.

In 1956, Goodman joined the faculty at Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn, eventually becoming director of the school's Polymer Research Institute. Goodman joined the UC San Diego faculty in 1970 as a professor of chemistry and served as chair of the department for six years. In addition to his academic duties, he served as editor-in-chief of the journal Biopolymers from 1963 until his death.

Goodman's research involved the chemical synthesis of natural peptide mimics and the study of how their structure contributes to their function. For his achievements, Goodman was honored with numerous awards, including three from ACS: the 1997 Ralph Hirschmann Award in Peptide Chemistry, the 2000 Herman F. Mark Polymer Chemistry Award, and a 2001 Arthur C. Cope Scholar Award. He was also elected as a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 1984 and as a foreign member of the Russian Academy of Sciences in 1999.

In his personal life, Goodman was active in San Diego's Jewish community. He served as president of the Congregation Beth El synagogue in La Jolla and was on the boards of the Hillel Foundation and the La Jolla County Day School.

Goodman is survived by his wife, Zelda; three sons; and six grandchildren. Joined ACS in 1951.

John A. Montgomery, board member and retired executive vice president at BioCryst Pharmaceuticals in Birmingham, Ala., died from heart failure on May 24 at the age of 80.

Montgomery earned an A.B. degree in chemistry in 1946 and an M.S. degree in organic chemistry in 1947 from Vanderbilt University, Nashville. He went on to receive a Ph.D. in organic chemistry in 1951 from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, then stayed at the university as a postdoctoral researcher until 1952.

After graduation, Montgomery joined Southern Research Institute in Birmingham, where he enjoyed a career spanning more than 50 years. He served as director of organic chemistry research from 1956 to 1986, vice president from 1974 to 1981, and senior vice president and director of the Kettering-Meyer Laboratory from 1981 to 1990. Montgomery left Southern Research in 1990 to join BioCryst, although he continued to hold the title of distinguished scientist at the firm.

In addition to his industry work, Montgomery was an adjunct professor of organic chemistry at Birmingham-Southern College from 1957 to 1962 and the associate director of the Center for AIDS Research at the University of Alabama, Birmingham, from 1988 to 1994. He had been an adjunct senior scientist for the university's Comprehensive Cancer Center since 1978.

Among his many accomplishments, Montgomery was an inventor of four FDA-approved anticancer drugs: lomustine, carmustine, dacarbazine, and fludarabine. He received many honors for his work, including the 1986 ACS Alfred Burger Award in Medicinal Chemistry and the 1995 Smissman-Bristol-Myers-Squibb Award given by the ACS Division of Medicinal Chemistry. In addition to many years of active service to ACS, he was an elected member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and Sigma Xi.

In his personal life, Montgomery was a sports fan who also nurtured passions for photography, travel, jazz, and literature. Montgomery is survived by his wife, Jean; two sons; two daughters; and four grandchildren. Joined ACS in 1947.

Donald E. Pearson,

retired professor emeritus of organic chemistry at Vanderbilt University, Nashville, died on April 16 at the age of 89.

Pearson received a B.S. degree from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, in 1936. He went on to earn a Ph.D. in organic chemistry from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, in 1940. After graduation, he spent a year as a pitcher for a minor league baseball club.

From 1940 to 1942, Pearson worked as a research chemist for Pittsburgh Plate Glass. He then left to work on the Manhattan Project for the U.S. Office of Scientific Research & Development. After World War II, Pearson was a research chemist at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he worked to synthesize antimalaria drugs.

Pearson joined the faculty at Vanderbilt in 1947 as an assistant professor and retired as an emeritus professor in 1979. During this time, he coauthored two volumes of "Survey of Organic Syntheses," a graduate-level textbook for organic chemistry. He also became known for his love of basketball and spent many hours at a local recreation center on the court with his graduate students and family members.

Pearson was preceded in death by his wife, Gwendolyn. He is survived by two sons, a daughter, and six grandchildren. Joined ACS in 1938; emeritus member.

Obituaries are written by Victoria Gilman. Obituary notices may be sent by e-mail to and should include detailed educational and professional history.


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