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by Susan J. Ainsworth
September 29, 2008 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 86, Issue 39

Leroy Chauffe, 71, a longtime chemistry department faculty member at California State University, Hayward (now CSU East Bay), died on Sept. 3 from complications of diabetes.

Chauffe received an undergraduate degree in chemistry from Xavier University of Louisiana, in New Orleans; a master's degree in chemistry from Howard University, in Washington, D.C.; and in 1966, a doctorate in organic chemistry from the University of California, Davis. He conducted postdoctoral research at UC Davis and the University of Southern California.

Early in his career, Chauffe was a research chemist at Shell Chemical, in Woodbury, N.J., and a lecturer at CSU Long Beach. He joined CSU Hayward in 1968, subsequently teaching a range of undergraduate and graduate chemistry courses. He also served as chair of the chemistry department, associate dean of instruction, acting dean of graduate studies, and interim dean of the School of Science before retiring in 2001.

Chauffe was named National Outstanding Teacher by the National Organization for the Professional Advancement of Black Chemists & Chemical Engineers in 1994. He was an emeritus member of ACS, joining in 1967.

Chauffe is survived by his former wife, Diane, and many nieces, nephews, and cousins.

Louise M. Cutler, 86, a Pace University chemistry professor emerita, died on Sept. 2 after a brief illness.

Born in Troy, N.Y., Cutler earned a B.S. in chemistry from Good Counsel College, in White Plains, N.Y., an M.S. from Fordham University, and in 1962, a Ph.D. from Columbia University. She did postdoctoral research at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, New York University, and Columbia.

Cutler was a professor of chemistry at Good Counsel, remaining there as it was renamed the College of White Plains and as it merged with Pace in 1977. Before retiring from Pace in 1992, Cutler had been the assistant chair of its department of chemistry and physical sciences and a dean of studies at its White Plains campus. Cutler was a member of Sigma Xi and an emerita member of ACS, joining in 1943.

For five years, Cutler served as coordinator of Pace's Hispanic Outreach program at her local high school and middle school. She had been a member of the Sisters of the Divine Compassion, in White Plains, from 1943 to 1976; a parishioner at Immaculate Heart of Mary Church, in Scarsdale, N.Y.; and an active member of the Legion of Mary.

Cutler was predeceased by two brothers. She is survived by her friend Marie (Connie) Casciano, three nieces, and two nephews.

Joseph R. Darby, 96, a retired Monsanto research chemist, died on July 22 after a brief illness.

Born in Boonville, Mo., Darby earned a B.S. in chemistry in 1933 from St. Louis University. He then joined Monsanto, where he conducted research on plasticizers for 43 years. While at the company, he organized and led the "Darby College" technical sales training program and traveled around the world presenting technical seminars.

Darby authored or coauthored 26 technical articles on plastics and plasticizers and held 33 patents. He also coauthored the textbook "The Technology of Plasticizers," for which he received the Society of Plastics Engineers 1983 Vinyl Division Contribution in Vinyl Plastics Award.

He was an active member of the Vinyl Division of the Society of Plastics Engineers (SPE), where he was appointed as a fellow in 1985. He was an emeritus member of ACS, which he joined in 1936. After retirement, he consulted for the plastics industry for 27 years.

Darby is survived by his children, Tim, Dennis, Chris, Kevin, Joan Dougherty, and Debbie Waters; 14 grandchildren; and nine great-grandchildren. Lois, Darby's wife of 50 years, died in 2001.

Everette L. May

Everette L. May, 94, an accomplished medicinal chemist, died on Aug. 9, in Richmond, Va.

Born in Timberville, Va., May earned an undergraduate degree from Bridgewater College in 1935 and a Ph.D. in organic chemistry from the University of Virginia in 1939.

After a short stint at National Oil Products, May joined the National Institutes of Health as an associate chemist in 1941. At NIH he served as a senior chemist from 1947 to 1953. While working in the Public Health Service Commissioned Corps., from 1953 to 1977, he was scientist director and then chief of the section on medicinal chemistry.

When May retired in 1977, he joined the department of pharmacology and toxicology of the Medical College of Virginia at Virginia Commonwealth University as an adjunct professor and maintained an active role at the university until shortly before his death.

Early in his career, May focused on antimalarials research, which led to a number of effective drugs. After World War II, he focused on analgesics, introducing the 6,7-benzomorphans and the 5-phenylmorphans as analgesics and research tools. He discovered phenazocine, an opioid analgesic drug, and levomethadyl acetate, which had some success as a replacement for methadone as a maintenance drug in the treatment of opioid addiction. His extensive structure-activity studies emphasized the importance of stereochemistry on drug action and played an important role in the discovery of opioid receptors and the endogenous opioid system. More recently, May made important contributions to the fields of cannabinoids and nicotine.

He served as a board member and a consultant for the National Academy of Sciences Committee on Problems of Drug Dependence, a consultant to the United Nations Narcotics Laboratory, in Vienna, Austria, and a member of the World Health Organization Expert Advisory Panel on Addiction-Producing Drugs. He had been assistant editor of the Journal of Medicinal Chemistry and served on the editorial boards of Medicinal Chemistry Research and Medicinal Research Reviews.

May authored or coauthored 198 research papers, 10 review articles, and seven book chapters. He coedited one book and held seven patents. He received numerous awards, including the Nathan B. Eddy Memorial Award and three awards from ACS: the Hillebrand Prize of the Chemical Society of Washington, the Smissman Bristol-Myers Squibb Award of the Medicinal Chemistry Division, and the Alfred Burger Award in Medicinal Chemistry, a national award. He was a member of ACS, joining in 1940.

He had been active in the Montgomery County Baseball Association, in Olney, Md., and deacon and elder of the Bethesda Presbyterian Church, in Maryland.

May is survived by his wife of 44 years, Helen; two sons, Everette Jr. and Phillip; two stepdaughters, Virginia Turner and Victoria Hussion; seven grandchildren; and one great-grandchild. His first wife, Marie, died in 1964.

Thomas L. Netzel

Thomas L. Netzel, 61, a Georgia State University biophysical chemistry professor, died on Sept. 4 from prostate cancer.

Netzel received a B.S. in chemistry from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, in 1968 and a Ph.D. in chemical physics at Yale University in 1973.

From 1972 to 1974, Netzel was a member of the chemical physics group at Bell Laboratories, studying photosynthetic bacteria and developing the double-beam picosecond spectrometer. After working with the economics analysis group at Bell Laboratories until 1976, he accepted a position at the Brookhaven National Laboratory in 1977. Then in 1985, Netzel joined the physical technology division of Amoco Technology as a staff chemist.

He shifted to academia in 1989, accepting a position as professor of chemistry at Georgia State. His work focused on synthesizing, characterizing, and modeling covalently modified DNA nucleosides, oligonucleotides, and duplexes.

Netzel was active in his local section of ACS, which he joined in 1981. He received the ACS Award for Volunteer Service earlier this year, but was unable to deliver the award address at the ChemLuminary Awards ceremonies at the national meeting in Philadelphia. His daughter Rivka Monheit accepted on his behalf and presented his address. The address was recorded and Netzel was happy to view it.

He is survived by his wife, Marla, and in addition to Monheit, another daughter, Adira Netzel-Abramson.

George J. Oberlander, 87, a retired professor of chemistry at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, died at his home in Burlington, Vt., on July 6.

Born in Boston, Oberlander briefly attended Tufts University before serving in the Army Air Forces from 1942 to 1946 as an aircraft mechanic.

After WWII, he returned to Tufts, earning a B.S. in chemistry in 1947. He earned an M.S. in chemistry from UMass in 1955.

Oberlander worked briefly at Stone & Webster Engineering, in Boston, before beginning a 38-year career as a professor of chemistry at UMass Amherst. He served as director of laboratories at the university from 1970 to 1979 and also taught chemistry for nursing students from the late 1950s through the early 1960s. Oberlander retired in 1985.

He was a member of the American Association of University Professors and the New England Association of Chemistry Teachers. He was also an emeritus member of ACS, joining in 1948.

Oberlander was an active member of St. Brigid's Parish, in Amherst, where he served as a lector for 30 years.

Oberlander's wife, Jennie, died last year. He is survived by his five children, George, James, Ann Perkins, Jean Oberlander Rhuda, and Jane Fortin; and eight grandchildren.

Om Gaddam Reddy

Om Gaddam Reddy, 58, a chemical and pharmaceutical industry executive, died of cancer on July 9, at his home in Hyderabad, India.

Born in the small farming community of Gurramguda in the state of Andhra Pradesh, India, Reddy earned B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees from Osmania University, in Hyderabad.

While earning a Ph.D. in the early 1980s, he was employed at Indian Detonators, in Hyderabad, working under a research contract with U.S. Bureau of Mines.

Reddy moved on to work at several senior level management positions in R&D at Dr. Reddy's Laboratories, one of India's largest pharmaceutical companies. He was instrumental in the growth of the firm's custom-synthesis business unit, in which he served as its general manager and vice president.

Reddy then joined Orchid Chemicals & Pharmaceuticals, in Chennai, India, as chief executive officer and executive director of the company's drug discovery entity.

Reddy started two companies, Symphony Pharma Life, which provides R&D services, and Symphony Pharma Training, a company aimed at preparing new chemistry graduates to work in the growing pharmaceutical industry and contract research organization business in India.

Reddy was author or coauthor of more than 51 international articles and held or shared more than 120 patents.

He was a member of several organizations, including the Royal Society of Chemistry and ACS, which he joined in 1994.

He is survived by his wife, Shobha, and two sons, Nishi and Sashi.

Jane V. Zeile

Jane V. Zeile, 56, professor of chemistry and biochemistry at San Francisco State University, died on Dec. 9, 2007, while battling metastatic breast cancer.

Born in Flint, Mich., Zeile received a bachelor of science degree in chemistry in 1973 from Muhlenberg College, in Allentown, Pa., and a Ph.D. in inorganic chemistry in 1977 from Vanderbilt University, in Nashville.

Zeile then went to work for DuPont's central R&D group in Wilmington, Del. While working for the company, she served as a visiting research scientist at the Institute of Chemical Physics, in Moscow, from 1979 to 1980.

She then accepted a position as a lecturer at San Francisco State University in 1980, being promoted to assistant professor in 1983 and professor in 1993. In 1998, she took a sabbatical as a visiting research professor at the Research Center for Organometallic Chemistry at Spain's University of Murcia.

Zeile's research focused on organometallic chemistry and the application of electrochemical methods in the solar energy and semiconductor industries. She served on the university committee that developed San Francisco State's Environmental Studies Program. Zeile recently served as the director of the university's College of Science & Engineering's Student Resource Center.

She loved hiking in the mountains and cross-country skiing. She was an ACS member, joining in 1974.

Zeile is survived by her husband, San Francisco State chemistry and biochemistry professor Sergio Aragon, and four sons.

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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