Obituaries | June 1, 2009 Issue - Vol. 87 Issue 22 | Chemical & Engineering News
Volume 87 Issue 22 | p. 36 | Obituaries
Issue Date: June 1, 2009


Department: ACS News
Keywords: Obituaries, People

Henri C. Benoit, 87, a physicist who was responsible for major advances in polymer science, died on March 23 in Strasbourg, France.

Born in Montpellier, France, Benoit received a degree in physics from the école Normale Supérieure, in Paris, in 1945. He then joined Charles Sadron's group at the University of Strasbourg, earning a doctoral degree in physics there in 1950. After spending a year at Harvard University under Paul Doty, he accepted a professorship at Louis Pasteur University, in Strasbourg.

Benoit helped create the Center for Research on Macromolecules (now Charles Sadron Institute), which is a part of the French National Center for Scientific Research. In 1967, he succeeded Sadron as the center's director, a position he held for 12 years before opting to return to his research as a senior scientist there. He became professor emeritus at the institute in 1988.

Benoit made significant contributions to the theoretical and experimental characterization of macromolecules. He published more than 300 technical papers. In 1994, he coauthored "Polymers and Neutron Scattering" with Julia S. Higgins.

He served on the editorial board of journals including Advances in Polymer Science and the Journal of Polymer Science. From 1971 to 1975, he was president of the International Union of Pure & Applied Chemistry's Macromolecular Division (now the Polymer Division). Benoit received many honors, including the ACS Award in Polymer Chemistry.

He is survived by his wife of more than 60 years, Maria-ThérÈse; two sons, Alain and Eric; and a daughter, Nicole.


Stephen J. Branca, 62, vice president of business development at Aldrich Chemical, died on April 28 after a long struggle with liver cancer.

Branca earned a Ph.D. in chemistry in 1978 at the University of Pennsylvania under Amos Smith.

He joined Aldrich in January 1981 as a research scientist. Subsequently, he served as supervisor for specialty products, manager of research and development, and director of new products. Branca was promoted to the position of vice president in May 1994. He joined ACS in 1974.

He is survived by his companion, Beata Major; her sons, Mike and Pako; his father, Angelo; brother, Ronald; and sisters, Michelle Kesselman and Denise Wiegel.


Lawrence M. Sayre, 57, an internationally renowned professor of chemistry, pathology, and environmental health sciences at Case Western Reserve University (CWRU), died in Cleveland on May 8 from a brain injury precipitated by an intracranial hematoma.

Born in Chicago, Sayre received a B.A. in chemistry with honors from the University of California, San Diego, in 1972. He then earned a Ph.D. in chemistry in 1977 at UC Berkeley under Frederick R. Jensen. For three years, he conducted postdoctoral research in medicinal chemistry at the University of Minnesota under Philip S. Portoghese.

Sayre joined CWRU's chemistry department as an assistant professor in 1981, becoming a full professor in 1993. He was appointed to be the Frank Hovorka Professor of Chemistry in 2000, and beginning in 2001, he served as the chair of CWRU's chemistry department for seven years. Sayre was also interim chair of the department of modern languages and literatures from 2006 to 2008 and held professorial appointments in the departments of pathology and environmental health sciences at CWRU.

In his research, which was aimed at unraveling the molecular mechanisms of human diseases, Sayre collaborated with many other chemists and biomedical researchers at CWRU and the Cleveland Clinic Foundation.

A cofounder of the Protein Aging Group at CWRU, he made major contributions to understanding the modification of proteins by products of lipid oxidation in diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and neurological diseases.

Sayre published more than 190 research papers and served on a number of National Institutes of Health study sections, on the editorial board of Chemical Research in Toxicology, and on the long-range planning committee for the ACS Division of Medicinal Chemistry. He joined ACS in 1980.

He received a five-year Research Career Development Award from NIH in 1987. CWRU presented him with the Sigma Xi Research Award in 1988 and the Mortar Board Top Prof Award in 1997.

Sayre is survived by his wife, Marti; his two sons, Andy and Eric; his brother, Steven; and his mother, Dorothy.


Malcolm L. Sturchio, 77, professor emeritus of chemistry at Fairleigh Dickinson University (FDU), died of liver cancer on April 30.

Born in Newark, N.J., Sturchio earned a B.A. in both chemistry and physics from Rutgers University in 1952 and an M.A. in science education from Seton Hall University in 1954.

In 1952, Sturchio began working as a chemistry lecturer at FDU, where he would carve out a long career. He became a professor of chemistry in 1973 and professor emeritus in 1997. Sturchio served in many administrative roles at the university both before and after retirement. He received the FDU Distinguished Faculty Award for Service in 1995.

Sturchio coauthored the textbook "Chemistry: Principles and Concepts" and published other works on laboratory techniques in general chemistry and articles on chemical education. He was active in many state and national science education groups and held many roles in support of chemistry and science education in South Korea.

Sturchio was an emeritus member of ACS, joining in 1953. He served on a number of national and divisional ACS committees and was active in the North Jersey Section, assuming many roles, including councilor.

Sturchio is survived by his wife of 32 years, Maria; brother Rodney; six children from a prior marriage, Jeffrey, Neil, June, Malcolm II, Glenn, and Eva; and six grandchildren.


Susan J. Ainsworth writes obituaries. Obituary notices may be sent to and should include a detailed educational and professional history.

Chemical & Engineering News
ISSN 0009-2347
Copyright © American Chemical Society

Leave A Comment

*Required to comment