Retired Professor Chris Willis Passes
We are saddened to report that retired professor Chris Willis has passed. Our thoughts are with his family and friends.
Chris continued his interest in chemistry well into retirement. In 2015 there was a special issue of the Canadian Journal of Chemistry to commemorate 100 years of Chemistry at Western, and Profs. Mel Usselman and Chris Willis contributed a manuscript on the history of the department.
The text of Chris' obituary follows.
WILLIS, Christopher John - 1934 – 2019. After a long struggle endured with courage and grace, Chris left us peacefully on February 20, 2019, due to complications from Lewy Body Dementia. His was a life well-lived, defined by family and academic achievement. Chris was predeceased by Brenda (nee Quail) in 2007 after a 47-yearr marriage. He is a proud father to Andrew (Jennifer Bermingham), Sally and Penny (Ken Headrick), and grandfather to Hannah and Rachel Willis and Meghan, lain and Allison Headrick. The only child of Frank and Lillian, Chris was born in London, England, on June 6, 1934, and attended Emmanuel College at Cambridge University on scholarship. His Cambridge years were the defining period of his life. Chris obtained a PhD in chemistry in 1955 then followed a number of his classmates to Canada, first as a postdoctoral student at the University of British Columbia, where he met Brenda over a bridge game, then as a Professor at Western University. Over four decades at Western, Chris took enormous pride in teaching, research, counselling graduate students and helping build a world-class university. His professional work centered on fluorocarbon chemistry, and Chris pursued a number of personal interests, including travel, nurturing a proper English garden, music and woodworking. While he cherished his British roots, Chris was a passionate Canadian, forever grateful for the opportunities provided by the country where he chose to work and raise his family. He took enormous joy from being part of a Quail clan that extends from Montreal through Saskatoon and Fernie, B.C. to Vancouver. After the passing of Brenda, his wife and best friend, he was well cared for by the staff of Sunrise of Oakville and Wyndham Manor. Cremation has taken place and a private family memorial is planned. Education defined Chris, and the family would be honoured by a donation to Western at givingtowestern.uwo.ca or the university of your choice.