Richard (Dick) Gillespie, an alumnus and long-time staff member in the department, passed away in his sleep on Friday, January 25 at the age of 90.
Dick was an extremely important member of our department for 31 years. He started working in our solutions preparation lab in 1951, while also finishing up his BS, which he earned in 1953. He became head of the Freshman Storeroom, overseeing all chemistry undergraduate laboratory solutions, while he also studied part-time with Professor Ken Trueblood to earn an MS in X-ray crystallography, which he completed in 1958. Rather than pursuing a doctorate, Dick embraced his passion for instrumentation, and was the department’s mainstay in its instrumentation facility from 1955 until his retirement in 1982. An expert in NMR, infrared, ultraviolet and mass spectrometry, Dick maintained the departmental instruments, instructing hundreds of researchers in their use.
Dick was also extremely supportive of faculty and students alike who often sought his help, in-depth knowledge and advice. Jane Strouse, who worked with Dick at the beginning of her career in instrumentation, not only thought of him as an able mentor, but also as a wonderful person to work with and know.
Dick is survived by his wife of 65 years, Virginia, his daughter, Diane, and son, Steve.
Memorial services were held at Forest Lawn, Glendale on January 29, from 1-4 p.m.