CARBONDALE — Russell Fay Trimble Jr. died April 28, 2020, at home, of lymphoplasmacytic lymphoma, a non-Hodgkins lymphoma.
Born to Russell F. Trimble and Ormond Estelle Peters in February 1927, in Montclair, New Jersey, he attended grade school in New Jersey and Staten Island, New York; high school in Brooklyn and Cambridge, Massachusetts.
He served in the U.S. Navy at the end of World War II and then earned his bachelor's of science and doctorate in chemistry from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He was proud to trace his chemical genealogy to Antoine Lavoisier.
His wife of 63 years, Natalie Jean Benda, preceded him in death in 2013.
He is survived by his daughters, Kirsten, Carol and Margaret; and his cats, Estelle and Apollo.
A professor in the SIUC Chemistry Department from 1954 to 1993, he taught the introductory chemistry sequence, upper level inorganic chemistry courses, and chemical literature. He served on numerous departmental, college and university committees, including the Pre-Health Professions Advisory Committee. He was the faculty advisor to the Beta Psi chapter of Alpha Chi Sigma, the chemistry fraternity, and a 72-year member of the American Chemistry Society with a particular love for the History of Chemistry division. He also belonged to the Society of the Sigma Xi, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Association of University Professors, the Illinois Academy of Science, the American Translators Association, the National Science Teachers Association, and was a Fellow of the American Institute of Chemists. He enjoyed judging science fairs at the local and state level. He translated scientific articles from Russian and German to English. The sound of his typing in the evenings sent us to sleep many nights.
Russell helped found the Carbondale Unitarian Fellowship when he and Natalie joined in 1954. He served as an officer for many of the early years of the Fellowship. He helped install the organ in the old building and helped paint at various times. He was a staunch member as the Fellowship grew to have a full-time minister.
After his retirement he volunteered at the Carbondale Public Library, only stopping when he could no longer get up from the floor easily at 92. He acted in both community theater and play readings at the behest of Chris Moe. He read at SIRRS for a brief time. He was a man of wide-ranging interests including woodworking, music, military history, translating poetry, and Esperanto. A family friend remembers him as "gentle, caring, and thoughtful."
A celebration of life will be at the Carbondale Unitarian Fellowship at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, consider giving memorials to the Humane Society of Southern Illinois in care of Pennies for Pets Fund, 95 Humane Road, Murphysboro, IL 62966; The History of Chemistry Division of the American Chemical Society Office of Philanthropy, 1155 16th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20036; or the Carbondale Unitarian Fellowship, 105 N. Parrish Lane Carbondale, IL 62901.
Walker Funeral Home of Carbondale is entrusted with arrangements.
Sign up to get the most recent local obituaries delievered to your inbox.