Obituary: Peter P. Gaspar, professor emeritus of chemistry, 84

Peter P. Gaspar
Gaspar

Peter P. Gaspar, professor emeritus of chemistry in Arts & Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis, died Saturday, July 27, 2019, in St. Louis, following a long illness. He was 84.

Gaspar was born in Brussels in 1935 and moved with his family to the United States in 1939. He earned his undergraduate degree at the California Institute of Technology and his PhD at Yale University in 1961. Gaspar began teaching at Washington University in 1963 and taught and conducted research at the university until his death in 2019. He was a physical-organic chemist and a leader in the field of organosilicon chemistry.

“He specialized in the pursuit of fleeting, reactive intermediates known as silylenes,” said William Buhro, the George E. Pake Professor in Arts & Sciences and chair of chemistry. “A highlight of his career was his recognition by the American Chemical Society with the Frederic Stanley Kipping Award for organosilicon chemistry in 1986. Peter was also a large figure in the life of the chemistry department. He will be missed.”

He was a fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry, the American Numismatic Society and the Royal Numismatic Society (Great Britain). His honors include the American Numismatic Association’s Heath Literary Award in 1980. He held many appointments as a traveling lecturer, including with NATO, the French Ministry of Education and as a Fulbright scholar.

Gaspar is survived by his wife, Ann Carole Gaspar, and son, Damon Gaspar, both graduates of Washington University and residents of St. Louis. His family is organizing a memorial service, which will take place in the fall.

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