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In Memoriam

Hugh W. Thompson, Active Faculty, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, died on February 21, 2009. Professor Thompson was a member of the Chemistry Department .

A Memorial Service will be held at a later date.


Hugh W., Professor of Chemistry at Rutgers, Newark, an art collector and a man of sardonic wit, died Saturday, February 21st of injuries sustained in a head-on collision with a wrong-way bus while on his way to work.

Hugh's entire professional career was in the Chemistry Department at Rutgers, Newark, where he was variously Chair of the department, Director of the graduate program, mentor to countless graduate and undergraduate Chemistry students, and author of over 130 research papers in the areas of synthetic, structural, and dynamic organic chemistry and on hydrogen-bonding in the crystalline state. He was a member of the American Chemical Society. He is survived by his wife, Elizabeth Barnes Thompson of Manhattan, his daughter, Victoria Thompson of Washington, D.C., and his brother, Geoffrey Thompson of Mountain View, CA.

Professorial at all times, down to tweed jackets and sandals in most weathers, Hugh was revered by family and friends for both his idiosyncratic erudition and his puckish humor, as well as for his restless curiosity, intellectual reach and the breadth of his interests. He often managed to teach something, even in casual conversations, and it was likely to be an obscure but surprisingly interesting lesson delivered with wry wit. Hating hypocrisy, he was a passionate scientist, firmly dedicated to that which could be proven. He was wary of religion and politics, and he delighted in extracting the weird from both real and pseudo news sources. He would send the "news" items around, and then thoroughly enjoy any debate he stirred up. He was a man of cultivated tastes, with a love of foreign cuisines, a keen ear for music and an equally keen eye for art. Briefly, he was not only a collector, but also a dealer in graphics, during which time he turned his wife Elizabeth's childhood nickname, Tizbo, into the lofty sounding "Gallerie Tizbeau" for business dealings. He abandoned the gallery idea, but remained a connoisseur, amassing over many years a stunning collection of 19th and 20th century European and American graphics. Born December 7, 1936 in New York City, he grew up in Washington, DC and Kent, Ohio, where his father was Head of the Chemistry Department at Kent State University. His mother, Myra Waterman Thompson, was once a reporter for The New York Times. Hugh graduated from Cornell University with Honors in 1958, and received his Ph.D. from M.I.T. in 1963. An N.I.H. postdoctoral fellowship at Columbia University followed, and in 1964 he married Elizabeth Anne Barnes on the terrace of her aunt's villa on the French Riviera.

Special Requests

Hugh's family requests that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to Rutgers University c/o Chemistry Dept., 73 Warren St., Newark, NJ 07102.

For more information, please visit:
http://www.legacy.com/NYTimes/DeathNotices.asp?Page=LifeStory&PersonId=124728371

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