I am sad to tell you that we’ve heard from his family that Prof. Russell Bell has passed away.
As you probably know, Prof. Bell was a well-loved professor of organic chemistry. A native of New Zealand, he completed his undergraduate there, and his PhD at Stanford, before joining the Department of Chemistry at McMaster in 1964. He was also a joint member of the Department of Biochemistry. He was an excellent researcher, who made pioneering discoveries in the area of nucleic acids and natural materials, utilising state-of-the-art NMR methods. He collaborated with many colleagues within the Department, and ran an active research group for more than 30 years. He was also an outstanding instructor, as recognised in his life-time achievement award, presented to him by the MSU in 1996.
Following his retirement in the same year, Russell remained an active scientist, regularly attending departmental seminars in his areas of interest, as well as Willie’s annual Holiday festivities. He was always warm and encouraging to students, staff and colleagues alike. He will be missed. The obituary for Prof. Bell can be found here. Friends will be received by the family on Saturday afternoon from 2 to 6 at the Turner Family Funeral Home, 53 Main Street, Dundas. A Celebration of Russell’s life will follow at 88 Hopkins Court, Dundas at 6:30 p.m.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations to the Salvation Army, Russell’s favourite charity, would be appreciated by the family.
Professor Emeritus Richard H. Tomlinson, OC (born c. 1924), a chemist and philanthropist, has passed.
He is best known as a founding director of Gennum Corp., a Canadian manufacturer of semiconductors and semiconductor-based products, and for making one of the largest single donations to a Canadian university. He studied at Bishop's University and received a Ph.D. in chemistry in 1948 from McGill University studying under Otto Maass – who he also served under in the Canadian military’s Chemical warfare Unit during WWII. After post-doctoral fellowships at the National Research Council and Cambridge, Dick joined McMaster University's Chemistry Department in 1950. He became chair of the Department and taught at the University for close to four decades. He earned a teaching award from the Chemical Institute of Canada and published almost 60 peer-reviewed papers dealing with subjects as diverse as molecular diffusion and flow, polymer chemistry, the geological age of minerals and chemistry in molecular beams.
For years Dick hosted the Departmental BBQ after the annual golf tournament in his backyard out around the swimming pool. It was a beautiful venue and remembered fondly. He was made an emeritus professor in 1988 and retired the year after. Then he took on a bigger project. He became a founding director of Gennum Corporation, which went on to establish itself as the world's largest maker of microchips for hearing aids and one of the biggest suppliers of chips for digital signal-processing TV studio equipment. When McMaster's nuclear reactor lost its government funding and was threatened with closure, Dick approached the University with a proposal. Instead of spending millions to close the facility, he suggested "we use it to make millions instead."
An avid golfer and runner (he held the national record for the 30-kilometre run for those over 60 years), when he wasn’t busy with these pursuits, he was busy using the reactor for his own research approaches to develop radioactive iodines and nuclicides used widely in the treatment of cancers and various diagnostic medical procedures.
Dick is also a philanthropist and has made several impressive donations to McMaster and other universities. The Richard H. Tomlinson Gallery in the McMaster Museum of Art was made possible through his donations. In 2003, he was made an officer of the Order of Canada. On Sunday, January 28, 2018 in his 95th year, Richard died peacefully at St. Joseph's Hospital in Hamilton Ontario after a brief illness. To read more about Dick's life and contributions, see these links, The Globe and Mail and McGill University.