Obituaries | June 23, 2008 Issue - Vol. 86 Issue 25 | Chemical & Engineering News
Volume 86 Issue 25 | pp. 50-51 | Obituaries
Issue Date: June 23, 2008


Department: ACS News

Dorothy H. Gibson, 74, chemistry professor emeritus at the University of Louisville, died on April 15 at her home.

Gibson grew up in Waxahachie, Texas, and received a B.A. degree in 1954 and an M.S. degree in 1956, both in chemistry from Texas Christian University (TCU).

She served as an instructor at TCU for several years before beginning doctoral work at the University of Texas, Austin, where she received a Ph.D. in chemistry in 1965 under the direction of Rowland Pettit. After postdoctoral stints with Pettit and at the University of Colorado under Charles H. Depuy, she joined the chemistry department faculty at the University of Louisville in August 1969 as an assistant professor. She was promoted to associate professor in 1971, received tenure in 1973, and became professor of chemistry in 1975.

Gibson served as vice chair of the chemistry department from 1978 to 1987, acting chair in 1982???83, and director of the university’s Center for Chemical Catalysis for several years.

Her recent research activities focused on transition-metal C1 chemistry related to small-molecule activation, which was supported by the Department of Energy’s Office of Basic Energy Sciences and the National Science Foundation. Gibson authored numerous journal articles. She retired from the university in June 2007.

Gibson served on the Editorial Advisory Board of the ACS journal Organometallics from 1991 to 1993 and was active in ACS, which she joined in 1956. She was also a member of Sigma Xi.


Homer J. Hall, 96, industrial research chemist and information scientist, died in Exeter, N.H., on April 26.

Born in Uniontown, Pa., Hall earned an undergraduate degree from Marietta College in 1931 and a Ph.D. in chemistry from Ohio State University in 1935.

He then began a 41-year career with Esso Standard Oil of New Jersey. Drawing on his ability to read chemistry research reports in seven languages, he published research abstracts for chemists and chemical engineers. During World War II, Hall earned patents for his research on detergent jet fuels.

After retirement, Hall continued to work in the field of information science as a member of the American Society for Information Science & Technology. He was an emeritus member of ACS, joining in 1935.

Hall is survived by a son, Stephen; three daughters, Deborah Sandler, B. Welling, and Eleanor; seven grandchildren; and 16 great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his wife, Juliet, and his son, David.

James P. Hoare, 87, a retired General Motors research chemist, died of respiratory failure on March 17.

Born in Denver, Hoare received a B.S. degree from Regis University in Denver. After serving in the Navy in the Pacific Theater during World War II, Hoare earned a Ph.D. in physical chemistry from the Catholic University of America in 1949.

He then joined the faculty of Trinity College, in Washington, D.C., as an associate professor. In 1953, he accepted a position at the Naval Research Laboratory, where he began working in the field of electrochemistry. Four years later, he joined the Ford Motor Co. Scientific Research Laboratory. Then in 1960, he began a long career at General Motors Research Laboratories in Warren, Mich.

He was awarded the American Electroplaters & Surface Finishers Society’s Scientific Achievement Award in 1988 and the Electrochemical Society’s Outstanding Research Award in 1987. He was the only two-time recipient of General Motors’ Campbell Award, receiving it in 1981 and 1985.

Hoare published more than 125 technical papers and coauthored a book, “The Electrochemistry of Oxygen.” He was a member of the Electrochemical Society, the International Society of Electrochemistry, the New York Academy of Sciences, and Sigma Xi. He was an emeritus member of ACS, joining in 1949.

Hoare is survived by his wife, Theresa, and three children: Karen, Patrick, and John.

Harry W. Johnson Jr., 80, emeritus professor of chemistry at the University of California, Riverside, died on Dec. 18, 2007, in Riverside after a 14-year battle with inclusion body myositis, a disease that causes severe muscle deterioration.

Born in Waverly, Fla., Johnson began serving in the Army in 1945 at Camp Crowder, Mo., and Washington, D.C., decoding enemy communications.

After his Army service, he earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry at Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1951. He then received a Ph.D. in organic chemistry at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, in 1954 under David Y. Curtin. That same year, Johnson became one of the first chemistry faculty members at UC Riverside, taking on the role of instructor in the Division of Physical Sciences.

After the university’s chemistry department was created in 1960, Johnson served as departmental chair from 1963 to 1966. He also served as assistant vice chancellor for research in 1973, graduate dean from 1974 to 1980, and associate dean from 1981 until his retirement in 1989.

Johnson’s research focused on structural and mechanistic organic chemistry, which included studies of hetero-aromatic organometallic compounds and acid-base chemistry. He also coauthored an undergraduate organic chemistry laboratory text, “Selected Experiments in Organic Chemistry,” with UC Riverside’s professor emeritus George Helmkamp.

He is survived by Margaret, his wife of 50 years; three daughters, Jill Johnson-Young, Anne Johnston, and Gail MacMillan; and six grandchildren.


H. A. Wilfred (Tito) Lynch, 89, a chemist, engineer, inventor, and pioneer in the development of silicone rubber for use in medical engineering, died on April 7 at home in New Glarus, Wis., after a long battle with cancer.

Born in Ottawa, Ontario, Lynch obtained a bachelor’s of science degree in chemistry with honors from St. Patrick’s College, University of Ottawa, in 1940.

Lynch served as a veteran officer of the Canadian Armed Forces in World War II. He also developed a nighttime map-reading device for Canadian military intelligence to aid the forces fighting overseas.

After working in chemical plants in Quebec and Toronto, Lynch took at position at Boonton Molding in New Jersey. Then in 1954, he moved to Racine, Wis., to work for the now-defunct Moxness Products, which focused on silicone rubber fabrication for the aerospace and atomic energy industries. Lynch remained with the company for 15 years, rising to the position of president.

In 1969, he founded Medical Engineering, a device firm that pioneered the production of products for use in plastic surgery and urology, including implants for breasts, chins, ears, and noses. Bristol-Myers bought the company in 1982.

He founded and was president of Wilfred Lynch Associates, a consulting and scientific development company with a principal focus on medical implant devices. He retired in 2007.

Lynch held more than 10 patents for medical devices and authored many scientific papers and two books, “Implants: Reconstructing the Human Body” and the “Handbook of Silicone Rubber Fabrication.” Lynch received the John W. Hyatt Award in 1982 from the Society of Plastics Engineers.

He is survived by his wife, Candace; five children; 13 grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren. His first wife, Elsie, predeceased him.


Lars C. S. Melander, 88, professor emeritus of organic chemistry at the University of Gothenburg, in Sweden, died on Feb. 11.

Born in Sweden, Melander entered the University of Stockholm in 1938. Upon receipt of an undergraduate degree during World War II, he worked on uranium purification in the Nuclear Chemistry Department of the Nobel Institute of Physics in Stockholm. He served as director of the department from 1946 to 1951, during which time he earned a doctorate in chemistry at the University of Stockholm.

Melander headed the Nobel Institute of Chemistry from 1952 to 1963, when he was appointed the first professor of organic chemistry at the University of Gothenburg.

He was a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences and the Royal Society of Arts & Sciences in Gothenburg.

In his research with radioactive isotopes, he found that the heavy isotopes of hydrogen could be expected to react at rates different from that of the common isotope protium. This led to his pioneering work on the use of tritium to examine the rate-determining step of electrophilic aromatic substitution.

Later, Melander studied kinetic isotope effects as they relate to organic reaction mechanisms. He wrote the book “Isotope Effects on Reaction Rates” in 1960 and coauthored “Reaction Rates of Isotopic Molecules” with William Saunders in 1980. He retired in 1983.

Melander’s wife, Louise, died in 2006. Surviving family members include his sons, Nils and Hans.

Eric C. Schreiber, 86, a pharmaceutical researcher, died on April 2 at home in Sequim, Wash.

Born in Oberhausen, Germany, Schreiber moved to New York City when he was five years old. During World War II, he served in the Army in Italy, North Africa, and France as a staff sergeant from May 1943 until October 1945. He earned a good conduct medal, five bronze battle stars, and one overseas bar.

Upon returning to the U.S., Schreiber earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry in 1951 from Brooklyn Polytechnic Institute. He then began working for Pfizer as a research chemist, becoming head of its radioisotopes lab by 1963. Concurrently, he earned a master’s degree in chemistry at Brooklyn Polytechnic and a doctorate in pharmacology at the University of Connecticut, Storrs.

Schreiber worked as a department head at William S. Merrell Co. until 1966, when he became director of the drug metabolism department at the Squibb Institute for Medical Research. In 1975, he became director of the institute’s International Research Centre in Regensburg, Germany.

In 1977, Schreiber took a position as professor at the University of Tennessee Medical School, in Memphis, researching the effect of drugs on nursing mothers and infants. He also taught doctoral students. He retired from the university in 1983.

He served as an expert on technical and legal matters pertaining to drug use and as a consultant in the U.S. and Germany.

Schreiber is credited with more than 100 scientific articles in domestic and international journals and 10 patents.

He is survived by his wife of 33 years, Erica; two sons, Eric and Robert; stepdaughter Sharon; stepson Rik; and three grandchildren.

C. Jeffrey Wang, 64, founder of Spherotech in Lake Forest, Ill., died on April 19.

Born in Tainan, Taiwan, Wang earned an undergraduate degree in chemistry at the National Cheng Kung University, in Tainan.

In 1968, he immigrated to the U.S. to earn a master’s degree and a Ph.D., both in organic chemistry at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln.

In 1973, Wang moved to Amherst, Mass., to accept a postdoctoral position at Amherst College with Alan Waggoner. He developed fluorescent dyes intended for optical probes that could be used with biological membranes.

He then landed a position as a fluorescent dye chemist with Abbott Laboratories’ Diagnostics Division. His research led to the invention of the Abbott TDx, an automated fluorescence polarization immunoassay analyzer, which allowed physicians to quickly quantitate drugs in serum.

In 1982, Wang cofounded Pandex Laboratories, which developed equipment for rapid screening and selection of monoclonal antibodies and diagnostic instrumentation for screening the human blood supply for hepatitis. In 1986, Baxter purchased Pandex, but Wang remained as director of chemistry for the acquired business.

In 1992, Wang founded Spherotech, a biomedical manufacturer of magnetic, fluorescent, and surface-modified microparticles. He had been an ACS member since 1971.

He is survived by his wife of 38 years, Cindy; two children; and four grandchildren.


Irving D. Webb, 87, a retired Union Oil Co. of California (Unocal) research chemist, died on March 26 in Torrance, Calif., of congestive heart failure.

Born in Yreka, Calif., Webb earned a bachelor’s degree and Ph.D. at the University of California, Los Angeles, under the direction of William G. Young.

After serving in the Navy during World War II, he worked as a research chemist at DuPont in Wilmington, Del.

In the early 1950s, he accepted a position as chemist at Unocal at its research facility in Yorba Linda, Calif. He spent the rest of his career with Unocal, eventually moving to the main office in Los Angeles.

He retired to Malvern, England, in 1980. An emeritus member, he joined ACS in 1942.

He is survived by four children and four grandchildren. His wife, Mary Elizabeth, predeceased him by 10 days.


Obituaries are written by Susan J. Ainsworth. Obituary notices may be sent to and should include a detailed educational and professional history.

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