In Memoriam

James Katzer, former professor of chemical engineering, dies


10:35 a.m., Nov. 16, 2012--James R. Katzer, a former professor in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at the University of Delaware, died Nov. 2 at the age of 71.

Dr. Katzer served as a UD professor from 1969-1981. He is credited with establishing UD’s Center for Catalytic Science and Technology, an early pioneer of multidisciplinary research in the scientific and engineering principles of catalysis.

A member of the National Academy of Engineers, Dr. Katzer’s engineering repertoire included a mixture academia and industry expertise. After leaving UD, he went on to a career at Mobil Oil Corp. and later ExxonMobil Corp. in research science, from which he retired in 2004. Additionally, he served as an affiliate professor in the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering at Iowa State University and as a member of the department's Technical Advisory Council. He was also a director on the Technical Advisory Board of the China National Institute for Clean and Low Carbon Fuels.

Born in Grundy Country, Iowa, Dr. Katzer earned an undergraduate degree in chemical engineering from Iowa State University, followed by a Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He was a member of the Cosmos Club of Washington, D.C., and the Blue Hill, Maine, Garden Club. 

Dr. Katzer is survived by his wife of 32 years, Isabelle Katzer (nee McGregor); his mother, Velma Sheller; son Robert James, MD (Jenni) Katzer and their daughter Autumn Elizabeth Katzer; daughter Anne Louise Katzer; brothers: Wayne Katzer, Ken (Sharon) Katzer, and sister JoAnn Katzer. He was preceded in death by this father and his son, Michael Katzer.

Memorial contributions may be sent to the J.R. Katzer Fellowship in the Department of Engineering at Iowa State University. 

Article by Megan Marschall

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