SEGH Articles

In Memoriam: Willard R Chappell PhD

24 November 2017
With great sadness we have learned of the death of Willard (Bill) Chappell on October 7, 2017.

In Memoriam

Willard R Chappell PhD

With great sadness we have learned of the death of Willard (Bill) Chappell  on October 7, 2017.

Bill was Professor (subsequently Professor Emeritus) of Physics and Preventive Medicine at the University of Colorado Denver (USA). Bill joined our society in 1988 and was elected Secretary/Treasurer for 1989 through 1991. He served on the Board from 1992 to 2004 in a special position as Task Force Chairman of the SEGH Arsenic Task Force.  The work of the Task Force led to the Arsenic Exposure and Health Problems conferences  in 1993, 1995, 1998, 2000 and 2002. In addition to the  conference proceedings three books (Arsenic Exposure and Health Effects, edited by Willard Chappell, Charles Abernathy and Rebecca Calderon) were published. These publications were very well received by the international research community and influenced the setting of drinking water standards for arsenic. In 2005 Bill Chappell's efforts were recognized by the (SEGH) Julian J. Chisolm, Jr. Award for Outstanding Leadership in Environmental  Geochemistry and Health.

In his academic life Bill, in addition to his activities as an educator and researcher,  was Chairman of the State of Colorado Governors Scientific Advisory Committee in 1974-1975 and Chairman of the United State Department of Energy Oil Shale Task Force from 1978-1982.  In the academic year 1983/1984 he had a sabbatical leave in England as Academic Visitor in London University's Imperial College.

Bill's father and mother Will and Mildred preceded him in death.  Bill is survived by two brothers, Robert Bruce Chappell and John Heizer.  Bill's wife Juanita Benetin, whom he married on March 5, 1981 their two children Ginger Ferguson and her Husband, Robert Snook, and Robert Lincoln Ferguson, Jr.

Those of us who were privileged to know him  remember him not only for his active leadership in our society but also for him as a person, as good company, as fun. He was best described as a bon viveur, amply living up to the dictionary definition as a person who likes going to parties and who enjoys good food and wine. He was reputed to know the best restaurants in cities throughout the world.

Brian E Davies and Bobby G Wixson (Past Presidents)


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