The Austin College community is saddened by the death on June 28 of Dr. Charles Barr, professor emeritus of chemistry, following a long illness.
He has requested no funeral service be held.
Dr. Barr joined the Austin College faculty as assistant professor of chemistry in 1962. In 1981, when he was installed in the Rupert B. Lowe Chair of Chemistry, then-College president Harry E. Smith said that the professor had “consistently demonstrated his talent and scholarship through an outstanding teaching record, through research, and as a respected faculty leader.”
He continued his outstanding record until his retirement in 1994, teaching biochemistry each semester as well as general chemistry lectures and laboratories.
Dr. Barr earned his doctorate and master’s degree from Michigan State University. He earned his bachelor’s degree at North Central College. Before joining the Austin College faculty, he had been an associate professor at the University of Dubuque (Illinois), where he had served as acting chair of the Chemistry Department. He also served as a research associate at Michigan State and had served as a visiting professor at State College of Iowa. He received many honors for his research, including a postdoctoral fellowship from the National Science Foundation the year he arrived at Austin College. He also was active in professional associations.
For several years, he served as a patron of Austin College’s Gamma Gamma Gamma fraternity.
Dr. Barr simplified his life to two things, he reported in a 2006 Austin College Magazine update on his life: sushi every Friday and Sudoku every day of the week. In that article Barr said he found Sudoku more fun than balancing chemical equations and that he worked 10 to 20 in one sitting, leaving him time to read only two mystery novels a week. His retirement lesson, he said, was, “Enjoy life as it comes along.” His Austin College friends and colleagues certainly hope he enjoyed many days of puzzles, sushi, reading, and friendship during his retirement years. He was 86.