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Denis MacDowell, Ph.D.

Professor Emeritus

Denis passed away on September 30, 2013. Born January 26,1924 in Belfast, Northern Ireland, he was the only son of Herbert English and Frances Eva MacDowell. He was educated at the Royal Belfast Academical Institution and the Queen's University of Belfast. In 1948 he immigrated to Canada where he taught at the University of Toronto from 1948 to 1951, and then from 1957 to 1959. He continued his graduate and postdoctoral education at the Massachusetts Institution of Technology from 1951 to 1955 (PhD) and at the Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio, from 1955 to 1957.In 1959 he joined the faculty of the Chemistry Department at West Virginia University. During his career he obtained several Outstanding Teaching Awards, including a Golden Key Award, a Departmental Teacher Award twice, an Eberly College of Arts and Sciences Outstanding Teacher Award, and a West Virginia University Foundation Outstanding Teacher Award. After becoming Professor Emeritus in 1993, he taught an Honors Organic Chemistry course, and in the year 1994 and 1995 he was awarded the Jefferson Cup by the Honors Program for outstanding teaching. He continued to teach this course until 2013. He was, together with his late wife Evelyn, Faculty Advisor for the WVU Chapter of the Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship. Since 1959 he was actively involved with Crescent Hills Chapel, as well as the Christian & Missionary Alliance Church. In 2000 he was awarded a Rotary International Certification - the Four Way Test of Rotary for Community Service. Since 1993 he served as a volunteer patient representative-advocate at Ruby Memorial Hospital. In 1994 he was awarded the Volunteer of the Year Award. Over the years he was an avid tennis player and remembered with pleasure the many friends he met in this activity. When asked about his tennis proficiency, the inevitable reply was that his enthusiasm far exceeded his ability. He was preceded in death by his beloved wife, Evelyn Frances (Bent) and is survived by four children and their spouses: Paul (Linda Gagnon), of Dedham, MA, Lotus Averil MacDowell, Bridgeport, WV; Ruth (Thomas) Madre, Huntersville, NC; Rachel (Paul) Caldwell, Lexington, SC. He is also survived by nine grandchildren and their spouses: Cody, Austin and Kaelin Thrasher; Elliot and Thomas (Jordan Brasfield) Madre; Eric (Katy Williams) Caldwell; Michael (Elizabeth Adams) Caldwell; Benjamin (Amanda Cummings) Caldwell; Stephanie Caldwell (Timothy) Pitzer; and five great grandchildren.