Obituaries | June 2, 2008 Issue - Vol. 86 Issue 22 | Chemical & Engineering News
Volume 86 Issue 22 | p. 58 | Obituaries
Issue Date: June 2, 2008


Department: ACS News

Bertram M. Brown, 93, a pioneer in the plastics industry, died at his home in Providence on March 9.

Born in Seattle, Brown spent most of his life in Rhode Island. He received bachelor's and master's degrees in chemistry from Rhode Island State College (now URI, the University of Rhode Island) and a doctorate from Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Prior to his service in the military, he was an instructor at both Rhode Island State and Northeastern University. In July 1941, Brown was commissioned an ensign for the Navy Reserve; he eventually rose to the rank of lieutenant commander.

After World War II, he started Rosbro Plastics and Tico Toys, serving as president and general manager for both.

Brown was a founder and one of the early presidents of the Southeastern New England Chapter of the Society of Plastics Engineers; he was also a board member of the organization for many years.

An active member of his community, Brown served as an organizer and committee member of his local Boy Scout Troop. He also served as a board member for Jewish Family Services, Temple Emanu-El, the Jewish Home for the Aged, the Hillel Foundation at URI, Camp JORI, and Vocational Resources. He established scholarship funds for science students at URI and Simmons College.

After his retirement from the plastics business, he was active in real estate.

He is survived by his wife of 65 years, Phyllis; four children; nine grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren.

He joined ACS in 1943.


Hassan Elokdah, an accomplished medicinal chemist, died on Jan. 11.

In 1979, Elokdah received a bachelor's degree in pharmacy and medicinal chemistry from Al-Azhar University's medical school in Cairo. After spending three years as a pharmacist in Cairo, he earned a master's degree in organic chemistry from Temple University in Philadelphia in 1986.

He returned to industry that same year, accepting a position as a medicinal chemist at Wyeth Pharmaceuticals. During his more than 20 years at Wyeth, Elokdah quickly rose to the position of principal research chemist II. In that role, driven by a desire to discover novel therapies to treat patients, he headed a team of eight medicinal chemists. He was involved in the discovery of nine preclinical candidates in the fields of neuroscience and cardiovascular research, five of which advanced into clinical trials.

Elokdah received 30 patents and authored 15 peer-reviewed publications. He won the ACS Division of Organic Chemistry's Technical Achievements in Organic Chemistry Award in 2001 and the Wyeth Research President's Award in 2005.

Elokdah is survived by his wife, Kathy, and two children.

He joined the Egyptian Pharmaceutical Society in 1979 and ACS in 1987.

Kevin S. Haraki, 59, died of liver cancer on Jan. 24. His scientific interests spanned several areas of chemistry, including natural products, as well as theoretical, analytical, and computational chemistry.

A native of Hawaii, he graduated with distinction in 1970 from the University of Hawaii with a bachelor's degree in chemistry. As an undergraduate, he trained in Paul J. Scheuer's natural products laboratory.

Haraki began his graduate career in theoretical chemistry at Cornell University under the direction of Nobel Laureate Roald Hoffmann. Haraki was instrumental in developing CNDT software, an interface to the Extended Hückel Program, for generating coordinates of a molecule.

Drafted into the Army during the Vietnam War, he completed his service at Utah's Dugway Proving Ground and then returned to Cornell to complete a master's degree in chemistry. He then transferred to Fred McLafferty's lab, where he earned a doctorate in analytical chemistry and made significant contributions to the development of PBM and STIRS, which are software systems for analyzing and interpreting mass spectral data.

His industrial research career began in 1979 at Lederle Research Laboratories (now Wyeth Pharmaceuticals) in Pearl River, N.Y. There he pioneered the implementation of a large online interactive chemical structure database.

While at Lederle, he used database management tools to integrate the
chemical structure and biological activities of compounds of interest in pharmaceutical research. His methodical and meticulous approach helped him develop complex software systems that were
easy to use. He retired from Wyeth in 2005.

He is survived by his wife of 27 years, Deborah; three sisters; one brother; and a nephew. He was an ACS member for 13 years.

William J. Kelleher, 78, of Storrs, Conn., died in November after a brief illness. Born and educated in Hartford, he attended the University of Connecticut's School of Pharmacy and received a bachelor's degree in pharmacy in 1951. After earning a master's degree in pharmaceutical science at UConn and serving two years in the Marine Corps as a first lieutenant artillery specialist, Kelleher went to study under Marvin J. Johnson at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, where he earned a doctorate in biochemistry.

In 1960, he returned to UConn as an assistant professor of pharmacognosy. Eventually, he became section head of that discipline. During his tenure, he also served as assistant dean for graduate education and research and interim dean, both of the School of Pharmacy.

Kelleher had a lifelong devotion to pharmacognosy and served as president, program chairman, journal editor, and executive committee member of the American Society of Pharmacognosy.

Kelleher and his coworkers published and presented a series of 12 definitive papers concerning the production of lysergic acid derivatives in submerged cultures of Claviceps purpurea. These studies led to technology that is now in use to produce the various ergot alkaloids.

From 1985 to 1992, he worked as a pharmaceutical consultant at Richardson-Vicks Research Center in Shelton, Conn. Later, he also worked at Copley Pharmaceuticals in Canton, Mass.

During his time at Richardson-Vicks, Kelleher made significant contributions to developing over-the-counter products, resulting in five U.S. patents. His major efforts were devoted to controlled-release cough and cold preparations and oral care products containing local anesthetics. At Copley, he stressed use of advanced technologies for drug delivery to develop generic products that circumvent existing patents and establish new intellectual property.

He is survived by a sister and four nieces. He joined ACS in 1962.


These obituaries were written by Alicia J. Chambers. Obituary notices may be sent to and should include a detailed educational and professional history.

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