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Born: Dec 30, 1919

Date of Passing: Jun 23, 2007

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ROBERT HOLLADAY BETTS Robert Holladay Betts, retired Professor of Chemistry, University of Manitoba, at his residence in London, Ontario on Saturday, June 23, 2007, age 87 years. Born in Calgary Alberta on December 30, 1919, Bob excelled at academic work, obtaining the top scores in the province in the Alberta high school exams in 1938. He subsequently enrolled at the University of Alberta, where he obtained his B.Sc. Honours degree in 1942. The University awarded him its top academic honor for undergraduates, the Governor General's Gold Medal. After obtaining a Master's degree in chemistry at the University of Alberta in 1943, Robert obtained a Ph.D. in chemistry from McGill University in 1945. He held a post doctoral position at the University of Leeds from 1953 to 1954. Bob worked as a physical chemist at Atomic Energy of Canada from 1945-1966. There, he served as Head of the Chemistry Research Branch at Chalk River, 1955-1965, and Assistant Director of the Chemistry and Metallurgy Division, from 1965-1966. His research focused on radiochemistry, especially isotope separation and the study of radioactive decay products, as well as the chemistry of ion exchange. Bob then joined the Department of Chemistry at the University of Manitoba in spring of 1966, where he worked as a Professor from 1966 through 1980. He served as Head of the Department of Chemistry from 1966-1975. During this time, he oversaw a major expansion of the faculty and modernization of the academic programs of the department. In addition, while at the University of Manitoba he served on the Senate and the Board of Governors. Bob also served on the University's Staff Benefits committee, including as Chair. During this time he worked hard with others to expand retirement benefits for non-academic staff at the University. Bob was a member of the Faraday Society and the Manitoba Chapter of the Sigma Xi Society. He was elected a Fellow of the Chemical Institute of Canada. He was also a member of the Canadian National Commission for UNESCO. Bob was elected President-elect of the Chemical Institute of Canada in 1975 but could not serve his term due to health reasons. He retired from the University of Manitoba in 1980. After a one-year stay in England he moved to London, Ontario, where he lived throughout a happy and peaceful retirement. During this time he donated generously to his beloved University of Manitoba, endowing the R.H. Betts Lectureship in Chemistry, as well as the R.H. Betts Scholarship fund for graduate students and the R.H. Betts Undergraduate Bursary in Science. Bob was predeceased by his wife Ferol Betts and his brother William Betts, and is survived by his son Julian Betts, daughter-in-law Carolyn Lee and his devoted granddaughters, Phoebe and Ariel Betts, all of Del Mar, California. The family members express their gratitude to Mary Doherty whose expert and loving care allowed Bob to remain at home. They are also indebted to Rob Rice for his faithful visits, to the Bayley family for their friendship, Hospice of London, the wonderful nurses and PSW's of VON, Drs. Harle and Potter, the palliative care team at Parkwood Hospital and staff at Community Care Access Center. Cremation was followed by private gathering. Memorial contributions to the University of Manitoba scholarship and bursary funds, or Hospice of London, Ontario, would be gratefully acknowledged.

As published in Winnipeg Free Press on Aug 11, 2007

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