Dear husband, brother, and friend to many, George Bodner passed away peacefully on Friday March 19th after a long-term illness. He was born on March 8, 1946 in Rochester, New York to Max and Bessie (Lippman) Bodner. He received his Bachelor of Science degree from SUNY Buffalo and two PhD degrees from Indiana University in organic and inorganic chemistry. He began his career as a professor at Stephens College in Missouri for a few years, then moved to University of Illinois for a few years, and then finally arrived at Purdue University. George was the Arthur E. Kelly Distinguished Professor of Chemistry, Education, & Engineering, and held an appointment at Purdue from 1977-2019. He was instrumental in creating the graduate program in Chemical Education and the School of Engineering Education. He established the Biennial Conference on Chemical Education. He created the American Association of Chemistry Teachers (AACT) which had more than 4,000 members. For several decades he served on various committees of the American Chemical Society including the Board of Directors. He was President of the University Senate at Purdue. He was the author of more than 150 academic papers, an internationally renowned chemistry textbook, and he won many of the most prestigious national and international awards in his field.
If one is interested in the many awards George won and contributions he made to science and education, these are listed in abundance on Purdue’s website. But he will be remembered for more than his professional achievements. He was one of the most generous people with his time, resources, and spirit. He served as mentor to 77 graduate students as well as countless undergraduate students and fellow faculty members. Many of his friends called him a “Renaissance man” because of the breadth of his amazing intellect. In addition to being a world class scientist, his interests included history, philosophy, political science, literature, and music, and of course raising his pet dogs. Locally, he was a regular fixture at the Fiddler’s Gathering and Friends of Bob events, and he was a long-standing member of his treasured book club. He also had the most beautiful heart. He genuinely cared about people and tried to help them reach their full potential. He often said that his greatest joy in life was to see his students become successful and contribute to the world. He always had time to help someone with a problem, or to just have a friendly chat. His kindness and charity knew no bounds. One of his greatest passions was social justice. And countless people have commented that they will remember his clever wit most of all.
George is survived by his wife Christine (Nethercutt) Bodner, his sister Jacqueline Bodner, and many cousins, nieces, and nephews. He was preceded in death by his brother Howard Bodner and parents Max and Bessie Bodner. In honor of George’s care for animals, memorial contributions may be made to an animal rescue charity of your choice.