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by Susan J. Ainsworth
June 29, 2009 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 87, Issue 26

David A. Franz, 66, a professor emeritus of chemistry at Lycoming College, in Williamsport, Pa., died on April 21 after a courageous battle with melanoma.

After growing up in Philadelphia, Franz earned an A.B. from Princeton University in 1964, an M.A. in teaching from Johns Hopkins University in 1965, and a Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of Virginia in 1970.

Franz was a professor of chemistry at Lycoming for 35 years, and served as the department chair for many years. He was named the Frank & Helen Lowry Professor in 1998 and received the Constance Cupp Plankenhorn Faculty Teaching Award in 2001. He retired in 2005.

He was a member of ACS, joining in 1968. Franz was awarded the Joseph Priestley Service Award from the ACS Susquehanna Valley Section in 2007.

Franz is survived by his wife, Beth Ann Myers; his first wife, Sally; son, Alan; daughter, Kathy; and three grandchildren.

Malcolm F. Nicol, 69, a professor of chemistry and physics at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV), and professor emeritus of chemistry at the University of California, Los Angeles, died on May 7 in Las Vegas.

Born in New York City, Nicol graduated from Amherst College with a B.A. in chemistry in 1960. He then obtained a Ph.D. at the University of California, Berkeley, in 1963, studying with George Jura.

Nicol spent much of his career in the department of chemistry and biochemistry at UCLA, serving as assistant professor from 1965 to 1970, associate professor from 1970 to 1975, and professor from 1975 to 1999, when he was named professor emeritus.

At UNLV, Nicol served as executive director of its High-Pressure Science & Engineering Center beginning in 1998. He was also a professor in both the department of chemistry and the department of physics and astronomy at UNLV.

Nicol researched the effects of high pressure on molecular solids and fluids, focusing on spectroscopic properties and the photochemistry of simple molecules, polymers, explosive materials, and oxidic structures. He was a member of ACS, joining in 1969.

He was an Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Fellow and a fellow of both the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Physical Society.

He is survived by two sisters, three daughters, and six grandchildren.


William P. Schneider, 88, a retired organic chemist, died on April 18 in Anderson, S.C.

Born and raised in Marietta, Ohio, Schnei­der received an A.B. in chemistry, physics, and math from Marietta College in 1944. He then entered graduate school at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, earning an M.S. in 1946 and a Ph.D. in organic chemistry in 1950 under W. S. Johnson. He spent a postdoctoral year studying synthetic steroid chemistry with L. F. Fieser at Harvard University.

Schneider then began a distinguished 31-year career as a research scientist at Upjohn (now part of Pfizer) in Kalamazoo, Mich.

Schneider made many contributions leading to new, useful drugs in the cortical steroid class and helped develop efficient chemical processes for steroid manufacturing.

In the area of prostaglandin chemistry, he contributed syntheses of (±)-PGE2, (±)-PGF2α, and (±)-PGF2β and of thromboxane B2. He developed the now widely used synthetic method for dihydroxylation of olefins using osmium tetroxide and tertiary amine synthesis of the naturally occurring prostaglandins. During his research career, Schneider was an inventor on 120 patents and the author of 48 scientific publications.

After he retired from Upjohn in 1982, Schneider relocated to Anderson, where he briefly served as a research-lab mentor at Clemson University. He was an emeritus member of ACS, joining in 1944.

Schneider is survived by his wife, Sara; four children, Alice, Ann Forist, David, and Ellen Russell; six grandchildren; and seven great-grandchildren. His first wife, Dorothy, preceded him in death.

Hugh W. Thompson, 72, a professor of chemistry at Rutgers University, died on Feb. 21 from injuries sustained in an auto accident.

After earning a B.A. with honors from Cornell University in 1958, Thompson continued his studies in chemistry at Massachusetts Institute of Technology under H. O. House, completing a Ph.D. in 1963.

He worked with Gilbert Stork for two years as a National Institutes of Health postdoctoral fellow at Columbia University before joining Rutgers in 1964 as an assistant professor in the chemistry department of its Newark campus.

He moved quickly through the academic ranks, becoming full professor in 1972. He also served as department chair and graduate program coordinator for chemistry.

During his 45 years at Rutgers, Thompson investigated organic synthetic methodology, reaction mechanisms, stereocontrol of hydrogenations, and hydrogen bonding in crystals. He published 139 scientific papers. He was a member of ACS, joining in 1961.

A lover of art, literature, and music, Thompson amassed a collection of graphics and was an art dealer for a time. He and his wife, Elizabeth, spent recent summers hosting friends on the Côte d’Azur.

He is survived by his wife and his daughter, Victoria.


Willi Vaskovich, 70, the past-president and chief executive officer of Stahl, died on April 23 in Tilburg, the Netherlands.

A native of Austria, Vaskovich was a graduate of the Institute for Leather Technology & Chemicals, in Vienna, in the late 1950s.

After joining Stahl in Austria in 1965, Vaskovich transferred to a position as R&D manager with the company in Waalwijk, the Netherlands, in 1969. He was promoted to the position of operations manager of Stahl Holland before being appointed general manager of the same unit in 1977. He became director of Stahl’s European operations in 1983, general manager of Stahl Europe in 1986, and general manager for Stahl’s worldwide business in 1991, before assuming the position of president and CEO. Vaskovich retired in 2003.

Vaskovich is survived by his partner, Cecile Pellikaan; son, Michael; daughter, Katharina; and five grandchildren.

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



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