In Memoriam - 2018

We have learned of the deaths of the following members of the College of Chemistry community. Listed below are their names, UC Berkeley degree information, and information about their academic and work history if known. We have also provided a link to an online obituary, when available.

Chin-Tzu Peng  ('53 Ph.D. Chem)

Ching Tsu Peng

(04/10/2018) Professor Emeritus of Chemistry and Pharmaceutical Chemistry of UCSF School of Pharmacy. Dr. Peng was born near Xi'an, China on October 10, 1921 into a banker's family. In the mid 1940s, he graduated from Fu Jen Catholic University of Beijing with a BS degree in chemistry. In 1947 he came to the United States and continued his studies. In 1953, he obtained a Ph.D. degree in chemistry at UC Berkeley and started working at UCSF soon after his graduation until his official retirement in the mid 1990s. During these four decades and beyond, he worked tirelessly as a chemist in the field of tritium and liquid scintillation, and produced more than 120 publications, including journal articles and book chapters, and served as referee for many scientific journals. He was awarded the prestigious Melvin Calvin Award by the International Isotope Society in 1994.


Constance Ruben ('64 B.A. French + Political Science)

Constance Ruben(03/03/2018) Connie was a long time friend of the College and the daughter of Assistant Professor of Chemistry Samuel Ruben, a College staff member and long time College supporter. Her father died in a laboratory accident in 1943 while he was working as Official Investigator for the Office of Scientific Research and Development during WWII. )  Connie went to work after graduation in the UC Berkeley system. First in the Chemistry Department, followed by the Criminology Department, then for the agricultural publications section of UC Press. She was an editor and was responsible for putting together a book on the trees of the UC Berkeley campus. From the UC system, she went on to work at Thoratec. Connie retired from Baseline Environmental Consulting in 2008.


Barney Rubin ('50 Ph.D. ChemE

Barney Rubin(02/24/2018) In 1953 Rubin was one of the first employees of the newly-created Lawrence Livermore Radiation Laboratory, now known as Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL). He spent the next 31 years in a variety of positions and research projects at LLNL. Initially he was in charge of the original engineering group for manufacturing the critical parts of LLNL's first test devices. Over the years his responsibilities rotated through directing the chemical engineering, plastics, metallurgy, plutonium, ceramics and tritium groups.

When the tritium group was in his division he was responsible for setting up and setting off test bombs at Christmas Island, in the Nevada desert, and at the atolls of Bikini and Eniwetok. He found participating in these field experiments to be the most enjoyable part of his career. Rubin appeared in Life Magazine in 1957 when there was a misfire at a Nevada Proving Ground test site. It was his task to climb a 500-foot tower with two of his co-workers to disarm the bomb.

At LLNL, Rubin was instrumental in attempting to develop atomic energy for peaceful uses. He joined their Plowshare Project to promote non-combat uses of nuclear explosives. For 10 years he worked with the Energy Research Group to invent energy-producing ideas and as part of a separate Long-Range Planning Group he looked for new research and development initiatives outside the area of defense. In 1983 Rubin went to Washington D.C. for two years to work for the Arms Control and Disarmament Committees at the Pentagon. He offered his expert knowledge about the industrial process of making thermo-nuclear bombs to assist them with determining how to verify the reduction of nuclear arms with the Soviet Union. After returning he worked in the LLNL Verification and Control of Arms Group to support the non-proliferation of nuclear and chemical warfare. Before retiring he examined how to develop electronic communication between computers and after retiring he remained a consultant for the LLNL Energy Program.

Beaudette, Tristan (06/21/18) Ph.D. Chemistry 2010. We are sad to report that Beaudette’s life was cut short this year when he was shot during a camping trip with his family.  Beaudette was an Associate Director at Allergan and was married to Erica Wu. The couple have two young children. He studied with  Professor Jean M. J. Fréchet. His research focus was on  synthesized polyacrylamide, polyacetal, and polysaccharide-based acid-degradablemicroparticles and used in vitro and in vivo techniques to characterize their ability to elicit cell-mediated immune responses for applications in vaccines and cancer therapy. 

Bellecci, John S.  (12/22/2017) B.S. Chemical Engineering 1948. Belleci worked for several chemical companies in California and Illinois before he moved his family to Louisiana in 1968 where he was Plant Manager, and ultimately Group Vice President of Borden Chemical, Inc. He retired in 1989.

Birnbaum, Ernest Rodman  (03/22/2018) B.A. Chemistry 1955. Starting in 1963, Birnbaum worked as a professor of chemistry at St. John’s University in New York. Throughout most of his lifetime, he was a dedicated member of The Royal Society of Chemistry and the American Chemical Society.  

Bixler, Mark Frederick  (11/16/2017) Ph.D. After earning his Ph.D., he pursued a teaching career at the Fresno State University for the next seven years. Following Fresno, Bixler became a founding partner at a well-renowned Kistler Vineyards winery.  At Kistler, Mark wore multiple hats. He performed wine analysis in the lab, was the business manager, and oversaw sales and marketing.

Blanton Jr., William A  (01/16/2018) M.S. Chemical Engineering 1966; Ph.D. Chemical Engineering 1971. After his graduation from Berkeley, Blanton worked at Chevron Research until his retirement. He was an active and dedicated member of the San Geronimo Valley Affordable Housing Association and San Geronimo Valley Lions Club.

Breuer, Robert James  (03/20/2018) B.S. Chemistry 1943; C.Esing Education 1948; M.Ed. Education 1948; C.EAS Education 1957. After receiving his undergraduate degree in Chemistry, Breuer joined the Naval Reserves and served as a Lieutenant Commander until his retirement. After the war, Breuer returned to Berkeley to complete his graduate work in Education. He workd for the San Francisco school district, where he was the Dean of Boys and Head Counselor at Lincoln High as well as Head Counselor of Mission & Gompers Continuation High.

Chang, Shih-Ger (07/30/18) Ph.D. Chemistry 1972. Chang worked as a scientist at Lawrence Berkeley Laboratories for 40 years where he conducted extensive research on air pollution. He helped distinguish several pollutants and worked tirelessly to eliminate them from the environment. During his career, he earned 14 patents and published many scientific papers. 

Chun, Morrie (06/29/2018) B.S. Chemistry 1943, M.S. Chemistry 1948.  Chun spent his childhood in the Chinese community of Locke, CA. He served in WWII as adjunct in the Army of Chung Kai Shek. He worked as a chemist at Tenneco Inc. and lived in Lake Forest, Il. before retiring and moving to Berkeley.  Chun is interviewed in this 2017 video about the history of Locke and his years there.

Danon, Fortunato (03/2018) Ph.D. Chemistry 1962.  Fortunato arrived at the College of Chemistry with a Fullbright scholarship. He was one of the first Argentinian students in the program. After graduation, he taught in the University of Buenos Aires School of Chemistry. He was later kicked-out by the military coup in Argentina and moved to Boston where he worked at MIT. He later moved to Chile and joined the Catholic University in Santiago.

Fohlen, George M  (04/06/2018) B.S. Chemistry 1940.  Fohlen worked for a variety of chemical and research companies including Winthrop Research, Allied Chemicals, Cutter Labs, and Kaiser Aluminum and Chemicals before serving in his final position as Senior Scientist for NASA Ames Research Center. There, he worked on perfecting the fire safety of major aircraft. Over his career, he wrote 28 research papers and filed 16 patients.

Johnnie Jr., Daniel Harry  (02/05/2018) B.S. Chemical Engineering 1965. After receiving his B.S. at Berkeley, he pursued his M.S. degree at Iowa State University. After college he worked at Fluor, an engineering construction company.

Hogan, Ora Louise (07/02/18) B.S. Chemistry 1958. During her professional career, she worked as a US Navy civilian contractor and later for the state of California. She also worked at San Francisco State University as a mainframe programmer and Wells Fargo Bank before her retirement.

Komlenic, John Joseph  (05/26/2018) M.S. Chemical Engineering 1982

Krause, Kenneth W. (07/02/2018) Ph.D. Chemistry 1960. Kraus graduated from Loras College in 1957 and attended graduate school at UC Berkeley. He returned to Loras College and taught chemistry from 1960-2000. At Loras he also was assistant academic dean, vice president for academic affairs and academic dean, and acting president.

Kreider, Robert Eldon (01/13/28) B.A. Chemistry, 1941. Kreider worked for the Standard Oil Company at their Richmond refinery. He worked as a senior chemist and did outstanding work with water and air pollution for 41 years. He was commissioned and served in the Navy in 1944.

Kuzmicky, Donald Daniel (02/10/2018) B.S. Chemistry, 1962. Kuzmicky proudly served his nation as a member of the US Army. After graduation, Kuzmicky worked for the US Department of Agriculture as a full-time chemist in the lab until his retirement.

Law, Donald Douglas (05/05/2018) B.S. Chemical Engineering, 1950. Law went to work for General Electric and then on to Vallecitos Nuclear Center, before he transferred to General Electric’s San Jose facility complex. His devoted his career to General Electric, with the exception of four years when he enlisted in the US Navy.

Leblanc Jr, Oliver H.  (03/27/2018) Ph.D. Chemistry, 1957. Leblanc worked as a research chemist at General Electric Global Research until he retired.

Leung, Keith Ken-Wei, (05/20/2018) B.S. Chemical Engineering, 2006. Leung died tragically in a collision on May 20 at the age of 34. Leung was a member of the Danville Community Band and a UC Berkeley graduate.

Leventhal M.D, Mary Ellen (03/16/2018) B.S. Chemistry, 1976. She was a graduate of UC Berkeley and the Sackler School of Medicine in Tel Aviv. Following her graduation from medical school, she dedicated her life to her psychiatric practice and her patients. 

Lind, Wilton Howard (08/12/2017)  B.S. Chemical Engineering 1950; M.S. Chemical Engineering 1952.  Following his graduation, he held several positions with the Chevron Research and Chemical Company including: research engineer, administrative assistant to the vice president, and product specialist. He was enlisted with the United States Army Reserve from 1945-1946.

Lipowicz, Peter John (08/01/2018) Ph.D. Chemical Engineering 1986. Lipowicz was an accomplished scientist and inventor. He held over 25 patents. His research was widely published and referenced in academic journals. In 2017, he was inducted into Altria's prestigious inventor circle. 

Nethaway, David Robert (07/17/2018) B.S. Chemistry 1951, M.S. Chemistry 1957. He majored in chemistry and later he was employed as a nuclear/radio chemist. He received his doctorate from Washington University in Saint Louis, Missouri. He worked at the Lawrence Livermore Laboratory from 1955 to 1991 retiring at the age of 62. He went back to work at the Lab part time until the age of 80. He loved his job.

Parker, Richard (06/03/2018) B.S. Chemistry, 1953. After Parker graduated from Cal, he worked for Dow Chemical, then became a commodities/stock broker and finished his career as the Public Guardian Estate Manager for the County of Santa Cruz.

Peri, John Bayard (01/25/2018) B.S. Chemistry, 1959. After his graduation, Peri served as a radar officer in the US Navy during WWII. After his naval service, Peri worked as a research chemist for the California Research Corporation for eight years, and then the Standard Oil of Indiana until his career ended. Peri was well-renowned for his research on surface chemistry, publishing more than 50 papers and receiving numerous patents for his contributions to science.

Pickett, Herbert M. (08/03/2018) Ph.D. Chemistry 1970.  Celebrated as a senior research scientist at NASA’s JPL, Pickett pioneer several scientific breakthroughs within the field of molecular spectroscopy. He developed tools to be used for atmospheric research satellites that helped diminish the hole in the ozone layer. He authored several hundred paper for academic journals. 

Pirklel, William Howard (04/06/2018) B.S. Chemistry, 1959 (Ph.D. University of Rochester 1963). Pirkle was a professor emeritus in chemistry at the University of Illinois. He became inspired to pursue chemistry while studying at UC Berkeley. During his tenure he mentored more than 60 Ph.D. students at the University of Illinois. Pirkle developed a highly mechanized way of utilizing nuclear magnetic resonance to determine the relative quantities of enantiomers within a mixture. He developed what is now known as the Pirkle’s Column, which is used extensively in the pharmaceutical, herbicide, and pesticide industries.

Rademacher, Jack Michael(link is external)  (12/20/2017) B.S. Material Sciences and Engineering, 1941. ATG PH.D. Chemical Engineering. Rademacher obtained several degrees from UC Berkeley, including one in Petroleum Engineering and another in Chemistry. Rademacher then enlisted in the U.S. Navy to serve his country in its time of need during World War II. Following the war he worked for Standard Oil in the Bay Area then Bakersfield, followed by private practice in mechanical engineering.

Robbins, John Oliver (01/30/2018)  B.S. Chemical Engineering, 1959. Shortly after his graduation, Robbins started his own insulation contracting company called the Golden Gate Insulation in 1985. He ran the company until his retirement in 2000.

Rosenquist, Robert Harold (03/18/2018) B.S.  Chemical Engineering, 1958. Worked at the Solid Rocket Division of Aerojet General. He went on to work for Owens-Corning Fiberglass for three years, before he started at Hexcel Corporation. He finished his career working for British Petroleum until his retirement in 1996.

Rowland, Clyde Harvey (04/18/2018) M.S. Chemical Engineering, 1971. He worked in a variety of locations throughout his career, including, California, South Carolina, and Texas. 

Senozan, Nail M. (04/29/2018) Ph.D. Chemistry, 1965.  Senozan became a chemistry professor at Cal State Long Beach. During his time there, he was given the title of University Outstanding Professor and was later appointed as chair of the chemistry department in 1996.

Suzuki, Mikio (02/12/2018) B.S. Chemical Engineering 1956. Suzuki received an advanced degree in chemical engineering from the University of California, Berkeley. Post-graduation, Suzuki worked as an engineer for several semi-conductor companies. Suzuki retired Seimens Corporation in 1995.

Wakabayashi, George Hideo  (07/07/2018) B.A. Bacteriology 1952; B.A. Chemistry 1958. Wakabayashi graduated from Courtland Joint Union High School, UC Davis and UC Berkeley. During WWII, he and his family were relocated to Tulelake, Heart Mountain and Amachi internment camps. He served the US in the Army from 1952 to 1954. Wakabayashi worked for 31 years as a chemist at Aerojet until his retirement in 1989.

Wernau, William C. (01/17/2018) Ph.D. Chemical Engineering 1972.  Wernau spent his career at Pfizer Inc. where he served as director of Bioprocess Research until his retirement in 2002.

Weston Jr, Ralph E. (04/22/2018) B.S. Chemistry, 1947.  Weston, a physical chemist, was a senior scientist emeritus at Brookhaven National Laboratory. His education at UC Berkeley was interrupted by three years of service in the U. S. Army Air Corps.  He received his Ph.D. from Stanford in 1950. He was the author, or co-author, of over one hundred peer-reviewed papers and book chapters, as well as co-author of the textbook Chemical Kinetics. He received the Senior Chemist Emeritus award from Brookhaven National Laboratory in 2008.

Wisnia, Cory Michael (08/18/2018) B.S. Chemistry 1969. Wisnia served in the Navy. Wisnia's career was focused on middle and high school teaching where he used his passion for math and science to inspire many children. 

Yuen, Holming Francis (01/21/2018) B.S. Chemistry, 2003, (Ph.D. Northwestern University 2009.)

This list was last updated September, 2018.