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by Victoria Gilman
December 13, 2004 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 82, Issue 50

William L. Carpenter, former researcher for the National Council for Air & Stream Improvement Inc. (NCASI), died on May 7 at the age of 77.

Carpenter was born in Gilkey, N.C., and received an undergraduate degree from Appalachian State University, Boone, N.C. He went on to earn a master's degree in sanitary engineering from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

From 1947 to 1960, Carpenter worked for the state of North Carolina. In 1961, he moved to Kalamazoo, Mich., to join NCASI as a regional engineer. Subsequent work with the council included positions as a research associate and instructor at Johns Hopkins University and as a research associate in Gainesville, Fla.

As part of his work, Carpenter developed tests for measuring paper mill effluent color and suspended solids, and his methods are still widely used. In addition to his membership in ACS, he belonged to the Water Environment Federation and Sigma Xi.

Carpenter is survived by his wife, Mary Ann. Joined ACS in 1952; emeritus member.


Michael Geis, professor of chemistry at Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles, and chair of the ACS Southern California Section, died on June 8 of genetic kidney disease. He was 60.

Born in Los Angeles, Geis graduated from Loyola University in 1966 (prior to its merger with Marymount College) and received a Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of California, Santa Barbara, in 1971. He taught at Loyola Marymount for 33 years and was active in faculty governance, serving as chair of the university's academic senate. Geis also spent many years teaching the organic summer session at UC Santa Barbara.

Geis was an active member of the Southern California Section, beginning in the 1970s when he volunteered with the high school chemistry contest committee. He later chaired the section's Nominations & Elections committee several times, and served as chair of the Arrangements Committee for at least three Western Regional Meetings.

The section members elected Geis to several key leadership positions including ACS councilor and most recently chair of the section. In 2003, Geis was awarded the Agnes Ann Green Award, the Southern California Section's most prestigious service award.

Geis's wife, Maria Blea-Geis, who had been suffering with cancer, died a few days after his passing. Joined ACS in 1967.


Kenji Koga, professor emeritus of the University of Tokyo and of the Nara Institute of Science & Technology, died of cancer on July 25 at the age of 66.

Koga was a leading contributor in the field of organic synthesis, particularly as a pioneer of asymmetric synthesis using chiral bases for lithium enolates. In 1995, he shared the Japan Academy Prize for academic excellence with Shun-ichi Yamada for their work on "New Synthetic Methodology for Optically Active Compounds Based on Asymmetric Transcription of Amino Acids."

Other awards include the 1994 Pharmaceutical Society of Japan Award and the 1988 Inoue Prize for Science awarded by Japan's Inoue Foundation for Science. Koga also made significant contributions to pharmaceutical sciences education in Japan. Joined ACS in 1972.


Gerald S. McMahon, a chemical engineer retired from Cities Service Oil Co. (now Citgo), died on June 27. He was 90.

McMahon was born in Boston and graduated from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He served in the Panama Canal Zone during World War II and retired as a colonel from the Army Reserve. He retired from Cities Service after a 42-year career.

In his personal life, McMahon was an amateur radio operator and an avid genealogist. He also tutored students at a local elementary school and was an active member of his church.

McMahon was preceded in death by his wife, Catherine. He is survived by six children, 17 grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren. Joined ACS in 1946; emeritus member.


Glenn A. Nesty, former vice president of research at Allied Chemical Corp. and at International Paper Corp., died on April 21 at the age of 92.

A native of Harmony, Ind., Nesty earned a bachelor's degree at DePauw University, Greencastle, Ind., and a Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of Illinois. Following graduation, he joined Allied Chemical as a research chemist and later became director of the firm's research lab in Morristown, N.J. For his work, he was a member of and was honored by many research organizations in the chemical and paper industries. In his personal life, Nesty devoted large amounts of time to supporting the activities and interests of his grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Nesty was preceded in death by his wife, Martha, and by his first son and a granddaughter. He is survived by his second son, two grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren. Joined ACS in 1936; emeritus member.


Carl T. Wigal, professor and chair of the chemistry department at Lebanon Valley College in Annville, Pa., died of a heart attack on June 20 at the age of 46.

Wigal earned a bachelor's degree in chemistry from the University of Cincinnati in 1986 and a Ph.D. in organic chemistry from Miami University of Ohio in 1990. Before joining the Lebanon Valley faculty in 1993, Wigal served as an assistant professor for three years at Idaho State University.

Wigal's research was aimed at developing new strategies for synthesizing natural products, particularly the synthetic and mechanistic aspects of addition reactions to 1,4-quinones. Many of the 26 papers on his work were coauthored with undergraduate students. Wigal was also actively involved in chemical education, developing microscale organic chemistry experiments for the Chemical Education Resources program of Thompson Publishing.

In May 2003, the ACS Mid-Atlantic Region recognized Wigal with its E. Emmet Reid Award for excellence in college chemistry teaching. In September 2003, Wigal, along with seven other faculty members from across the eastern U.S., was presented with an award sponsored by Pfizer at Indiana University's Symposium for Excellence in Undergraduate Chemical Research. This annual award recognizes faculty members for their research as well as for their important work as mentors who encourage students to pursue careers in science. His work in chemical education and research was supported by more than half a million dollars in grants.

In his personal life, Wigal enjoyed coaching children's sports and playing basketball with friends and faculty members. He is survived by his wife, Shari, and three children. Joined ACS in 1987.


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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