In Memoriam: John and Lois Dove

Professor John Dove and his wife Lois Hersum Dove have both been killed in a motor accident in Botswana. They were there partly on vacation and partly to visit their daughter Marion, who had been teaching in a school in Botswana.

John Edward Dove, 58, was born in Minneapolis, but his family soon after returned to England. He attended Repton School, and later Oxford University. While at Oxford he was stroke of the “first eight” of The Queen’s College Rowing Club at a time when they became “head of the river”. He graduated in 1953 with a first class honours degree in Chemistry, and stayed on to take a M.Sc. in 1954 and to complete a D.Phil. in 1959, working under the direction of Professor J. W. Linnett. Meanwhile, he was away from Oxford for a year as a Laming Fellow at the University of Goettingen. From 1960 to 1962 he carried out research as a Harkness Fellow in Professor G. B. Kistiakowsky’s research group at Harvard University. He and Lois were married in 1962.

John joined the Faculty of the Chemistry Department of the University of Toronto in 1962 as an Assistant Professor, and was promoted to Associate Professor in 1966 and to Professor in 1976. Meanwhile he returned to the University of Goettingen in 1969-70 as NATO Senior Research Fellow and Heinemann Fellow, and again in 1976-77 as a von Humboldt Senior Fellow; in 1982-83 he was a Visiting Professor at the Universities of Heidelberg and Goettingen. John published more than fifty scientific papers on a wide range of subjects in chemical kinetics, as well as chapters in two books. His work involved several different experimental techniques, and he also pursued theoretical work on chemical reactions. In recent years he had been especially interested in astrophysical problems having to do with the chemistry of interstellar clouds. He directed the research of a succession of graduate students and several postdoctoral fellows.

John Dove played a number of administrative roles in the University of Toronto over the years. He was a member of the Governing Council of the University from 1972 to 1975, and for the last two of those years served as Chairman of the Academic Affairs Committee; he was also for five years Chairman of the Physical Sciences Division of Scarborough College (1977-82), and later Chairman of the Chemistry Graduate Studies Committee (1985-87). He was also cross-appointed to Trinity College, and took an active interest in the affairs of the College. He played various executive roles in the Canadian section of the Combustion Institute.

A very major part of the last years of John’s life was devoted to the cause of peace and disarmament through his work for Science for Peace. (This is a Canada-wide organization of physical and social scientists dedicated to research and education promoting a more peaceful world.) John gave unsparingly of his time and energy and made a prodigious contribution to the development of Science for Peace and its activities. He served as National Secretary for two years, and subsequently as Executive Vice-President. He was also for several years Conference Director of the organization, and recently organized the highly successful International Conference on Arctic Cooperation, which in October 1988 brought together experts from the USSR, the US, the UK and all the Arctic nations, including indigenous peoples. The Conference reflected John’s view that the preservation of the environment and society of the Arctic demanded international cooperation on the broadest possible range of issues. His devotion to the causes of Science for Peace has been an inspiration to his many friends and associates.

Lois Whitney Hersum, 57, was a daughter of the late Colonel LeRoy M. Hersum of Boston, Massachusetts, and Mrs. Anita Hersum (now of Toronto). As the daughter of an army officer she lived and had her early education in a wide variety of places in the continental United States and Hawaii. She graduated from Radcliff. College in 1953, and was subsequently employed in the biochemical research laboratory at the Harvard Medical School for a number of years before marrying John and coming to Toronto with him in 1962.

Lois had also been active within the University of Toronto, at first doing research in the Cardiovascular Research Unit of the Faculty of Medicine, and then, from 1965, as a lecturer in the Department of Biochemistry. At the time of her death she was a Senior Tutor in that Department. She was a Past President of the University of Toronto Arts Women’s Club, and also a member and past Treasurer of the U. of T. Women’s Association.

Lois was well-known as an accomplished musician with a special interest in early music. She played the viola da gamba, but was also at home on the renaissance flute, recorders, and the spinet. She was a performing member of the Toronto Early Music Player’s Organization (TEMPO), and also played with a number of amateur music groups.

Lois was an active member of Science for Peace, and not only supported John in his tireless work for the organization but also played her own very vigorous role in its activities; indeed it seems to have been Lois who first drew John’s serious attention to Science for Peace.

Lois and John led together a life which balanced serious scholarship with a dedication to the well-being of others and the preservation of what is fine in our culture. At the same time they were devoted to their family. They are survived by their son Christopher and their two daughters, Marion and Alice. John is also survived by his brother Michael and his sister Pat (Love), who live in England. Lois is survived by her mother Anita Hersum, and by her sister Cynthia (Radue) of Kinsey, Montana.

Whole issue on one page | as PDF

ISSN 1925-170X (Print) | ISSN 1925-1718 (Online)