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by Victoria Gilman
December 20, 2004 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 82, Issue 51

George W. Moersch, retired group leader in organic chemistry at Parke, Davis & Co., died from heart failure on July 20 at the age of 88.

Moersch was born in Escanaba, Mich., and earned a B.A. in 1937 from Lawrence College. He went on to receive a Ph.D. in 1942 from Pennsylvania State College.

Following graduation, Moersch worked for the University of Idaho and Pennsylvania State College. He also spent two years at West Virginia Pulp & Paper in Charleston, S.C., where he worked on terpenes and sterol pulp mill by-products. He then spent two years doing postdoctoral work on government contract antimalarial research at Pennsylvania State University.

Moersch joined Parke, Davis & Co. as a research chemist, where his early work focused on steroids and folic acid antagonists, followed by several years in chloramphenicol chemistry. While employed with Parke, he served one year as an administrative fellow at the Mellon Institute of Industrial Research, then as head of a steroid group, and later as a director of programs in fertility control and compounds for atherosclerosis.

Moersch retired to Venice, Fla., in 1980, where he served on a county advisory committee and as a volunteer in the Venice High School chemistry department. In 1988, he was named Outstanding Volunteer in Sarasota County Schools. In addition to ACS membership, Moersch belonged to Phi Beta Kappa, Sigma Xi, and Alpha Chi Sigma.

Moersch is survived by one son and a grandson. Joined ACS in 1938; emeritus member.

Philip H. Rieger, professor emeritus of chemistry at Brown University, died on April 17 at the age of 68.

Rieger was born in Portland, Ore., and attended Reed College, graduating in 1956. He then attended Columbia University and received a Ph.D. in chemistry in 1962. Following graduation, Rieger joined the faculty at Brown, where he rose to full professor in 1977.

During his 40-year career at Brown, Rieger taught a variety of courses in inorganic, physical, and general chemistry. He also made major contributions to the Educational Testing Service of Princeton, N.J.

Rieger's research at Brown focused on electron-spin-resonance (ESR) spectroscopy, electrochemistry, and organometallic chemistry. His work in ESR and associated collaborations are world renowned. He made a seminal contribution to organometallic radical chemistry in 1981 by being the first to realize and explain electron-transfer catalysis in organometallic substitution reactions. In addition to more than 100 research papers, Rieger published the highly successful textbook "Electrochemistry."

Rieger and his wife, Anne, spent sabbatical years in Australia, New Zealand, England, and Vermont. He was an enthusiastic member of his local church choir and was especially fond of outdoor activities such as skiing in New Hampshire.

Rieger is survived by his wife, a daughter, and two grandchildren. Joined ACS in 1958.

Walter H. Stockmayer, professor emeritus of chemistry at Dartmouth College, died on May 9 at the age of 90.


Born and raised in Rutherford, N.J., Stockmayer received an S.B. in chemistry in 1935 from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, a B.Sc. in 1937 from Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar, and a Ph.D. in chemistry in 1940 from MIT. His graduate research focused on thermodynamic properties of polar gases and their mixtures, work that led to the now well-known Stockmayer potential.

Stockmayer began his academic career as an instructor at Columbia University in 1941. He was recruited back to MIT in 1943 and rose quickly through the ranks to become a professor in 1952. In 1961, he moved to Dartmouth College and continued with active roles in teaching, research, and public service until 2002, although his nominal retirement took place in 1979.

Stockmayer was one of the pioneers of polymer science in the past century. He is recognized for his landmark contributions in gelation theory, for his work in elucidating the effects of molecular weight distributions on polymer solubility, and for his contributions to the development of light-scattering theory for multicomponent systems. Long before circular DNA was known, he estimated the entropy penalty for circularization of a linear Gaussian chain.

In addition to his academic work, Stockmayer was one of the founding associate editors of the ACS journal Macromolecules, serving continuously until 1994. In the mid-1940s, he was a technical consultant to DuPont's Central Research & Development, a relationship that lasted for about a half-century. He also consulted for American Chicle Co., Humble Oil Co., and the U.S. Army-Piccatiny Arsenal.

Stockmayer was an elected member of the National Academy of Sciences and an honorary fellow of Jesus College of Oxford. In 1987, he was awarded the National Medal of Science by President Ronald Reagan, and in 2000, he became the first non-German recipient of the Hermann Staudinger Prize of the German Chemical Society. He was honored by ACS with the 1966 Award in Polymer Chemistry and the 1974 Peter Debye Award in Physical Chemistry.

In his personal life, Stockmayer pursued a variety of interests. He was an accomplished pianist and an avid mountain climber who climbed all 48 peaks in the White Mountains of New Hampshire that are taller than 4,000 feet. Friends and family will particularly remember his unique sense of humor, especially his memorable but unrepeatable limericks and his appreciation for a well-thought-out practical joke.

Stockmayer was preceded in death by his wife, Sylvia. He is survived by two sons, eight grandchildren, and one great-grandchild. Joined ACS in 1935; emeritus member.

Richard D. Trelease, a retired research chemist retired from Swift & Co., died on July 10 after traveling to attend the birth of a grandchild. He was 86.

Born in Chicago, Trelease graduated from the University of Illinois in 1940 with a bachelor's degree in chemistry. He also worked for U.S. Gypsum while attending school. After graduation, Trelease began a 40-year career with Swift.

During World War II, Trelease was assigned to the War Department to improve the rations sent to U.S. servicemen. While with Swift, he was instrumental in developing processed meat, frozen foods, and freeze-dried technology, work that paved the way for food used in the space program.

Upon his retirement, Trelease volunteered his time and energy as a consultant in developing countries. In Kazakhstan, he supervised the creation of factories for preserving local food supplies.

Trelease is survived by his wife, Arlyne; six children from a previous marriage; five stepchildren; 21 grandchildren; and seven great-grandchildren. Joined ACS in 1942; 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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