Professor Walter Blaedel Dies

Some of you may have known Walter Blaedel, who was a faculty member of our department many years ago. Walt passed away last week, and his obituary was reported in yesterday's paper. Walter J. Blaedel died Monday, Oct. 8, 2007, in Middleton, at Harbor House Assisted Living. Walter was born in New York City, May 26, 1916, to recent German immigrants. He received his B.A. and M.A. in chemistry from UCLA in 1938 and 1939, respectively, and his Ph.D. in chemistry from Stanford in 1942. During 1941-42, he was an instructor in chemistry at Northwestern University and also a research associate in the Office of Scientific Research and Development. He married Barbara Jeanne Bennett in Hollywood, Calif., in 1942. He left Northwestern to join the Manhattan Project at the University of Chicago as a research associate during 1944 until 1946. He then spent a year at the Radiation Laboratory at the University of California-Berkeley and a summer at Oak Ridge, Tenn., as an instructor in Nuclear Energy for the Propulsion of Aircraft. Walter joined the Analytical Division as an instructor in the chemistry department at UW-Madison in 1947. Over the next twenty years, the Analytical Division grew to be among the most highly regarded in the nation. However, during the 1970's and as a full professor, Walter had increasing disagreement with his colleagues over teaching, research and administrative procedures. After his retirement from UW-Madison in 1982, he decided to investigate the legal process by the scientific method. His direct engagement in court actions over a period of 20 years produced almost 3000 documents that report his perception of falsification and/or unethical behavior by public officials, particularly in technical and scientific matters that affected the public welfare. Although he lived in Harbor House Assisted Living in declining health for the past eighteen months, he continued to actively fight what he perceived as injustices up until the time of his death. It was his wish that his document collection be accessible to the public at: http://www.drwjb.org. He was preceded in death by his devoted wife, Barbara, after 62 years of marriage. He is survived by his three sons, Mark (Deborah) of Ames, Iowa, Ken (Jan) of Dublin, Calif. and Bob (Kathy) of Portland, Ore.; as well as his two loving granddaughters, Anna and Emily; and many nieces and nephews. His family has chosen to honor Walter's request that no memorial service be held. He wishes, instead, that "family, friends, students, and coworkers remember me occasionally, for having shared work, ideals, love, joy and sadness, and success and failure." The family requests that any memorial donations be directed to Hospice Care at 5395 East Cheryl Parkway, Fitchburg, WI 53711.