Professor emeritus OJ Whittemore, (Whit) passed away on July 20, 2010, surrounded by family and caregivers. He was born Jan.24, 1919, in Clear Lake Iowa. He is survived by his loving wife Barbara E. Greenwood Whittemore; by his children; daughters Bonnie Turner of Harrisburg Pa., Corin Whittemore of Kirkland, Wash., and son Donald Whittemore of Lawrence, Kan.; grandchildren Todd and Aletha Turner, Luke, Paul, Mark and Coryjean Whittemore; and great grandchild Samuel Whittemore; brother Jim Whittemore and sister Georgeann Kuhl. He was predeceased by his brother, Jerry Whittemore. Whit and Barbara celebrated their 68th anniversary Oct. 4, 2009.
Whit got his master’s degree in June 1941 and a professional degree in ceramic engineering from Iowa State in 1950. He was a member of the Sigma Nu Fraternity. After he received his master’s degree he worked at the Mellon Institute of Pittsburgh, Pa., from November 1941 to May 1944 on refractories testing. Then he was hired to work on ceramic materials related to the Manhattan Project (atomic bomb) at MIT in Cambridge, Mass. This project was considered more important to the war effort than if he was inducted into the army.
After the war, he moved with his family to Princeton, Mass., to work at Norton Co. Out of the many projects available he chose to work on stabilized zirconia refractories. For his work on pure oxide refractories he received the Admiral Earle Award of the Worcester Engineering Society and The Trinks Industrial Heating Award. In 1960 he was elected Fellow of the American Ceramic Society. In 1964 he was offered an associate professorship at the University of Washington in Seattle. So, he drove west with his wife, two daughters, a dog and a parakeet, leaving his son at the University of New Hampshire.
He taught the refractories course at the UW and created two courses on ceramic processing, and a course on design. He took a sabbatical in 1976 at a university in Sao Carlos, Brazil with Barbara to help establish a new ceramic engineering program there. In 1984, he traveled to Japan to lecture.
In 1987, he finally retired as Professor Emeritus, however, he continued to occasionally consult or to guest lecture.
Whit loved hiking, camping, figure skating, skiing and kayaking. He and Barbara loved to travel and took 35 Elderhostel trips around the world. He will be missed. His quiet dry humor was with him up to the end.
B.S., Ceramic Engineering, 1940, Iowa State University; M.S. Ceramic Engineering, 1941, University of Washington; Prof., Ceramic Engineering, 1950, Iowa State University. Associate Professor of Mineral Engineering at U.W., 1964; Professor of Ceramic Engineering, 1969; elected Fellow of the American Ceramic Society in 1960; director of the Washington Mining and Mineral Resources Research Institute, 1982.
For more information on his career, see this story (PDF) from the University of Washington