Wills, 77, died on Jan. 21 in San Luis Obispo, Calif.
“Max was instrumental in developing the polymers and coatings program at Cal Poly. He also pioneered the use of gas chromatography for volatile organic chemicals (VOC) analysis of coatings. Max was an extraordinarily gifted chemist who could remember details of any chemical structure or organic reaction and could synthesize, reverse engineer, or analyze anything. He continued his active laboratory work up until his death. He had a special gift for reaching struggling students and lighting the fire of chemistry within them. He didn’t suffer fools gladly but shared his smile and laughter with all.”—Dane Jones, colleague and coworker for 40 years at California Polytechnic State University
Most recent title: professor emeritus, Cal Poly
Education: B.S., chemistry, University of Puget Sound, 1961; Ph.D., organic chemistry, University of Washington, 1965
Survivors: daughter, Anne Lindquist, and son, Max