Flag half-staff for former chemistry professor


    The flag will fly at half-staff Thursday in memory of Professor Emeritus William B. Smith.

    Dr. Smith passed away June 24 at the James L. West Alzheimer Center, said Manfred G. Reinecke, another professor emeritus in chemistry. A memorial service will be held at an undetermined date in August.

    Dr. Smith was born on December 13, 1927 in Muncie, Ind. He earned his Bachelor of Arts in chemistry from Kalamazoo College in 1949 and a doctorate in chemistry from Brown University in 1954.

    He worked on his postdoctoral research at Florida State University with Organic Chemist Professor Jack Leffler from 1953-1954 and with organic chemist Morris Kharasch at University of Chicago from 1954-1955. He worked at Ohio University from 1955-1961 rising from an assistant professor to an associate professor.

    Dr. Smith first came to TCU as a part of the Robert A. Welch Foundation Visiting Scientist program in 1960 and was hired as the Chair of the Chemistry Department in 1961. While chair,  Mr. Smith saw the expansion of the Ph.D. program in chemistry and worked to secure TCU a nuclear magnetic resonance, a key machine in organic chemistry research and at the time only the second one in Texas.

    He was also interested in culture, Reinecke said. Dr. Smith enjoyed art, painting and even took piano lessons with the TCU Music Department. He was an avid sailor and a member of the Fort Worth Boat Club.

    Dr. Smith stepped down as chair in 1981 and formally retired 1998 where upon he became a professor emeritus in chemistry. He continued to do research on organic chemistry until 2006.

    “He was a good chair, a good organic chemist, a good teacher and a good friend,” Reinecke said.

    In his career he amassed over 125 papers and three books, one of which is an organic chemistry textbook. He was the 1989 recipient of the Chancellor’s Award for Research and Creative Activity and the 1990 recipient of the W.T. Doherty Award of the Dallas/ Fort Worth Section of the American Chemical Society.

    He is survived by his wife Marian and their three children.