Madison- MADISON-Howard William Whitlock, age 80, passed away on January 27, 2017. He was born on May 2, 1936, to Glenn and Howard Whitlock in Washington, D.C.
Howard attended the University of Maryland and received a degree in Chemistry in 1957. He became a graduate student in Organic Chemistry at the University of Wisconsin, studying under the supervision of Professor William S. Johnson. He received his Ph.D. in 1960, with a thesis on "Approaches to the Synthesis of the Alkaloid Veratramine." Shortly thereafter, Howard began an academic career that spanned over 50 years at the University of Wisconsin.
Howard loved every aspect of Organic Chemistry; his 90+ publications ranged over a wide variety of topics. As a teacher, he was always patient. When desktop computers became available, he developed unique applications that could be used in research. The creation of WIMP, a program useful for drawing organic molecules, led to a close friendship with Dr. Alfred Bader and the Aldrich Chemical Co. In later years, Howard singlehandedly tackled the complex problems of computerized organic synthesis.
Howard loved spending time outdoors. Despite the demands of teaching and research, he was an avid biker and enjoyed long rides in the country. Vacations often involved camping and canoeing with his family in northern Wisconsin, or with the Boy Scouts in the Boundary Waters. In the summers, he spent many hours working in the garden, especially enjoying the homegrown tomatoes and peppers. He liked to joke that he was an organic gardener, since he only used organic chemicals in the garden. Howard, and our neighbor Lee Holt on Norman Way, had the vision to initiate fund-raising to protect what is now known as Kettle Pond Conservation Park. Many in the community pledged support. Keeping the area in its natural state was a new concept for the City of Madison at the time.
The creativity that led to Howard's successful research career also extended to home. Howard enjoyed all sorts of arts and crafts, especially woodworking, and shared his enthusiasm and ingenuity with his children. Many of the projects that he made for his children many years ago are still enjoyed by his grandchildren today.
Although his health was affected by a stroke in 2010, Howard continued to learn new skills with the help of the Genesis therapists. He also benefited from the support of the Madison Aphasia group. Music, games and puzzles were always important, and he was seldom without his iPad.
Howard is survived by his wife, Barbara; daughter, Barbara Whitlock, son-in-law Paul Groff, grandchildren, Andrew Groff and Emily Groff; sister, Anita Whitlock; brother, Rodger Whitlock; sister-in-law, Muriel Shortreed; sister-in law, Dorothy Shortreed and her daughters, Bev, Patty and Barb Shortreed. Howard was preceded in death by his son Robert, and brother-in-law, Robert Shortreed.
A visitation will take place from 2 p.m.to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 4, 2017, at CRESS FUNERAL HOME, 3610 Speedway Road, Madison. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the charity of your choice. We wish to thank the caregivers at Artisan and Meriter for their loving care and support.
Dear Barbara and family .. I was deeply saddened to hear of Howard's passing. Howard gave me many great memories of the Chemistry department from his fun loving attitude to his love of chemistry and of course asking me about what great computer games are out there .. I'm sure he's battling Diablo now .. take care and I wish I could have attended but was myself recovery from surgery. May God bless him and you .. Bruce Goldade
Dr. Whitlock was my Ph.D. advisor in the 1970's. I am grateful for his kind guidance and appreciated his dry sense of humor.
Whitlock always had a reputation of a pitbull when I was getting my PhD at UW (2003-2008), but he felt fiercely protective of us as graduate students. He was always there for advice and guidance when all other faculty seemed to have abandoned me. He was kind and helpful when I was at my wits-end and always ready with hilarious stories and jokes when I needed that laugh. I will truly miss him.
I was Howard's grad student from 1966-1971. I was a mediocre PhD student --but Howard was understanding when I needed time off during divorce no. 1. He helped me get a postdoctoral spot in the Medicinal Chem Dept. I finally grew up as a chemist and enjoyed informal meetings where we discussed the projects i was working on. In 1972, Howard helped me get my first job as a Research Chemist at Miles Laboratories in Madison, which was run by his friend Prof. Charlie Sih. We didn't stay in touch but I will always be grateful for his enthusiasm, creativity, encouragement and understanding.
Long live twistane!
Warren Woessner, Ph.D., J.D.
Dr. Whitlock gave me some of the first teaching advice I ever received in a moment of need. Some of those lessons are ones I continue to abide by today. He was consistently wry in class and always had a valuable perspective to share.
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