James O. Maloney 1915 - 2010
A memorial service for James O. Maloney, 94, professor emeritus of chemical and petroleum engineering at Kansas University, will be at 10 a.m. Saturday at Trinity Lutheran Church.
Mr. Maloney died Thursday, Feb. 4, 2010, at Lawrence Presbyterian Manor.
He was born April 29, 1915, in St. Joseph, Mo., the son of John C. and Jean Clay Maloney. He spent most of his youth in Kansas City, Mo., where he graduated from Westport High School in 1931. He was a high-level tennis player, winning the Kansas City Juniors championship in 1933, playing varsity tennis at the University of Illinois and continuing to play regularly well into his advanced years.
He received a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from the University of Illinois in 1936 and a master’s (1939) and doctoral (1941) degrees from Pennsylvania State College.
He joined DuPont Co. in Wilmington, Del., in 1941 and was, for much of World War II, on loan from DuPont to Columbia University and the University of Chicago for work on the Manhattan Project, which designed the first nuclear weapons. His work on the Manhattan Project brought him into contact with the physicist Enrico Fermi and the chemist Harold Urey, both of whom were recipients of the Nobel Prize.
Mr. Maloney was chairman of the department of chemical and petroleum engineering at KU from 1945 until 1964 and served as professor until his retirement in 1985.
His 40 years at KU were punctuated by Fulbright Lectureships at universities in Italy, Egypt, Greece and Korea and by a term at the Economic Development Institute of the World Bank in Washington, D.C. He served as an assistant editor and contributing author of Perry’s Chemical Engineers’ Handbook, a standard reference work in the profession, and as editor and a contributing author of A History of the School of Engineering at the University of Kansas 1868-1988.
His expertise and interests ranged far beyond his technical field. Widely knowledgeable in history, literature, and art, he served as a faculty discussion leader in sections of the College of Liberal Arts’ required undergraduate course in Western Civilization and as a member of the faculty advisory committee that shaped the Western Civilization curriculum.
He was a fellow of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
He married Dorothy Burkholder on Sept. 10, 1940, in Greencastle, Pa. She died Feb. 20, 2002.
Survivors include two daughters, Nancy Rich, Denver, and Kathy Heerwald, Lawrence; a son, John C. and wife Sarah, Denver; four grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren.
The family suggests memorials to the Good Samaritan Fund at Lawrence Presbyterian Manor, sent in care of the mortuary, 120 W. 13th St., Lawrence, KS 66044.
Online condolences may be sent at warrenmcelwain.com.