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Robert L. Lichter, 76, of Alford, educator and scientist

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By Monday, Apr 16, 2018 Obituaries

Robert Louis Lichter, age 76, died of prostate cancer on March 31, at his home in Alford, Massachusetts.

Bob was a scientist and educator; loving husband, father and grandfather; singer; hiker; world traveler; and active member of his community. He grew up in the Boston area with his parents Morris and Ada, and his siblings Barry and Nancy.

Bob graduated Boston Latin School at 16. He received his AB in 1962 from Harvard and his PhD in 1967 from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, both in chemistry. He did postdoctoral work at Caltech and at TU-Braunschweig, Germany.

He met the love of his life, Diane Scott, in 1988. In 27 years of marriage, they lived in Brooklyn, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Boston, and the Berkshires, and traveled around the world.

In addition to his wife, he is survived by his sister Nancy Seebert and her husband Bill, of Gresham, Oregon; his son Derek and daughter-in-law Jude Shabry, of Cambridge, Mass.; his daughter Allison and son-in-law Greg Joseph, of Brooklyn, N.Y.; and his three remarkable grandchildren Julian, Liliana, and Nina Lee. He also loved his dogs, Molly and Arvo.

Before retiring in 2002, Bob had a 30-year career in academia. His research area was in C-13 and N-15 nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy. He was on the chemistry faculty at CUNY-Hunter College, where he was also department chair. He was a program officer at Research Corporation for Scientific Advancement, then served as a Vice Provost at SUNY Stony Brook. From 1989 to 2002, he led the Camille & Henry Dreyfus Foundation as Executive Director, where he created and administered programs for chemistry and chemical engineering education and research.

His later work focused on programs directed to broadening the participation of women, underrepresented minorities, and persons with disabilities in STEM fields. For his efforts in promoting diversity and inclusiveness in science, he was the recipient of the 2010 ACS Award for Encouraging Disadvantaged Students into Careers in the Chemical Sciences. Bob was a 50-year member and Fellow of the American Chemical Society. He was also a Fellow of the Association for Women in Science and of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Bob’s work was his life, but his life was not all about work. He was an avid hiker, climbing mountains across the U.S. and Europe, as well as in Peru, Japan, New Zealand, and on Cape Verde. He enjoyed active hikes closer to home with the Berkshire Silver Scramblers.

He was passionate about choral music, and sang with groups including the Harvard Glee Club, Collegiate Chorale, New York Choral Society, Berkshire Bach Society, and Berkshire Lyric. In addition, Bob was an active community volunteer. One of his joys later in life was working with the collaborative and experienced team that is implementing the Alford Broadband Initiative to bring high-speed Internet to the town. He would have loved to have been able to see this major project come to completion.

Donations in Bob’s name may be directed to Berkshire Lyric or the American Chemical Society Scholars Program C/O FINNERTY & STEVENS FUNERAL HOME, 426 Main Street, Great Barrington, MA 01230. To send remembrances to his family please visit http://www.finnertyandstevens.com

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