Issue Date: November 12, 2012
John D. McCollum
John D. McCollum, 83, a retired Amoco Oil chemist, died of cancer in Naperville, Ill., on Sept. 21.
Born in Evanston, Ill., McCollum earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, in 1949. He then earned a master’s degree in chemistry in 1951 and a Ph.D. in organic chemistry in 1957 at Harvard University under Paul D. Bartlett.
McCollum began his career as a project chemist at Standard Oil of Indiana, where he held positions of increasing responsibility as the company evolved to become Amoco. He focused his research primarily on the development of beneficiation and liquefaction processes for coal and shale. McCollum was credited with several patents and publications before he retired in 1989.
He was a member of Sigma Xi, the American Institute of Chemists, and the Union of Concerned Scientists, and he was an emeritus member of ACS, joining in 1953. He was known for being a brilliant, gentle, funny, thoughtful, and compassionate man.
He is survived by his wife of 62 years, Jean; daughter, Anne; son, David; and two grandchildren.
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