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Robert E. Graf

by Susan J. Ainsworth
December 14, 2009 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 87, Issue 50

Robert E. Graf, 65, an industrial chemist, died of cancer on Nov. 23 at his home in Rockville, Md.

Born in San Diego, Graf earned a B.S. in chemistry from the University of Pennsylvania in 1966 and a Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of Massachusetts in 1972 under C. Peter Lillya.

Applying his talents as an early high-pressure liquid chromatographer, he worked for Varian Associates in Chicago and Walnut Creek, Calif., and for IBM Instruments in Danbury, Conn., and Washington, D.C., developing novel chemical applications and marketing chemical analyzers.

Graf later shifted careers to focus on computer applications and Web development, working for several companies in the greater Washington, D.C., area. He helped launch the online version of USA Today in 1996, becoming its first webmaster. Later, Graf developed prototype computer applications as a contractor for government and health care agencies through Mitretek Systems (now Noblis).

He also provided computer support to his church and to the Samaritan Ministry of Greater Washington.

Graf was an avid photographer, Boy Scout leader, choir member, and private pilot; he flew a single-engine plane in all 50 states. He visited 38 countries and every continent. Graf was a retired member of ACS, having joined in 1968.

He is survived by his wife of 38 years, Joyce; two sons, Carl and Neil; and two grandsons, Charles and James.

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


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