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Obituary: Chicita F. Culberson

by Nina Notman, special to C&EN
September 9, 2023 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 101, Issue 30


Chicita F. Culberso
Credit: Courtesy of Ulrik Søchting
Chicita F. Culberso

Chicita F. Culberson, 91, died March 5, 2023, in Durham, North Carolina.

“In the 1960s, Chicita developed a thin-layer chromatography method to help lichenologists who lacked training in organic chemistry identify the unique secondary products of their specimens. She looked disapprovingly at anyone who used her system with shortcuts, but Chicita was far too gentle to be vocally critical of a colleague. She was soft-spoken and modest, more anxious to help than to make them feel unworthy. She assisted hundreds of colleagues with identifications, all while dealing with her own projects—including authoring scores of papers and three books on lichen chemistry. Chicita was an American Chemical Society member for 70 years.”—Scott LaGreca, former graduate student of Culberson and of her late husband, Bill

Most recent title: Research professor, biology department, Duke University

Education: BS, chemistry, University of Cincinnati, 1953; MS, chemistry, University of Wisconsin, 1954; PhD, chemistry, Duke University, 1959

Survivors: Nephew, Seth Forman; nieces, Gail Hill and BobbieLou Desilva

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