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Lester R. Morss, 1940 – 2014

Lester Robert Morss, PhD, 1940-2014, died peacefully at home on June 14, surrounded by his family, just before Fathers’ Day and a few days before his 48th wedding anniversary. The cause was metastatic ocular melanoma diagnosed in March 2014.
Beloved husband to Sue; father to Sydney, Benjamin, Rebecca, and Alisa; father-in-law to Norman, Ari, Wallace, and Jay; grandfather of Jeremy, Emma, Elodie, Dashiell, Travis, Toby, Marlena, Joey, Sammy, new granddaughter expected July 2014, and grand-dog, Indy, who he took for many wonderful walks. Loving brother of Rhoda Trooboff, uncle and cousin to many. Did an Aliyah and passed the Torah at Emma’s Bat Mitzvah just three weeks before he died; proud patriarch of the family.
Lester Morss began his scientific career in inorganic chemistry and radiochemistry in research on the actinide elements uranium through californium, achieving a PhD at University of California, Berkeley in 1969. He reached the rank of Full Professor of chemistry at Rutgers University, conducting research in synthetic inorganic chemistry and thermochemistry of transition elements there and then at Argonne National Laboratory in solid-state and thermochemistry of transuranium elements. In 1991, he was elected as a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. From 2002 until 2010, he was Program Manager for Heavy Element Chemistry in the Office of Basic Energy Sciences of US Department of Energy, Germantown, Maryland. He was an adjunct professor of chemistry at University of Maryland, College Park and a Visiting Scholar at George Washington University, teaching Chemistry until May 2014. He was honored with a three-day symposium at the 2012 American Chemical Society Meeting, “A Career in Actinide Science: Tribute to Lester Morss”. For many years, he co-edited The Chemistry of the Actinide and Transactinide Elements (6 volumes). An avid carpenter, photographer, and gardener, he lovingly designed and made beautiful furniture and toys that fill his home and those of his children. In retirement, he continued avid interests in science, reading, and travel, and spent much time with his grandchildren, inspiring their love of science and learning.
Posted 16 June 2014