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Theodore (Ted) C. Schwan

by Susan J. Ainsworth
December 15, 2014 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 92, Issue 50

Theodore C. (Ted) Schwan, 96, professor of chemistry emeritus at Valparaiso University in Indiana, died in San Ramon, Calif., on Sept. 29.

Born in Florida, Ohio, Schwan earned a B.S. degree in chemistry and mathematics from Valparaiso in 1941.

In response to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, he enlisted in the Navy Air Corps. He was an aerial navigator serving out of Newfoundland and England and piloted a PBY-5 Catalina Flying Boat in the Philippines. Schwan was awarded an Air Medal with Gold Star, a Distinguished Flying Cross, and a Navy Unit Citation Ribbon.

After World War II, Schwan joined Valparaiso’s chemistry faculty. He worked as an instructorwhilecompleting his Ph.D. in organic chemistry, which he received from Notre Dame University in 1953.

At Valparaiso, Schwan’s research focused on polymer chemistry and alternative energy sources for vehicles. On three occasions, he took a leave of absence from the university, accepting chemistry teaching positions in Bogor, Indonesia; Addis Ababa, Ethiopia; and Dammam, Saudi Arabia. He retired from Valparaiso in 1984.

Schwan received many honors, including several teaching awards. He was a 68-year, emeritus member of ACS.

After retirement, Schwan and his wife, Betty, moved to Thousand Oaks, Calif., where he was senior mentor at California Lutheran University for seven years. The couple traveled the world together.

Schwan is survived by his wife, to whom he was married for 70 years; their sons, T. Carl and Kurt; daughters, Judy Gordon and Margaret Beeler; eight grandchildren; and eight great-grandchildren.

Obituary notices of no more than 300 words may be sent to Susan J. Ainsworth at ­ and should include an educational and professional history.


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