Dr. James A. Howell, professor emeritus of chemistry at Western Michigan University, died Nov. 16 in Rose Arbor Hospice in Kalamazoo. He was 81.
A specialist in analytical chemistry, Howell joined the WMU faculty in 1964 and retired in 2001 after more than 36 years of continuous service to the University. He was well liked by his students, peers and colleagues, and many of his graduate assistants maintained contact with him over the years.
Howell was an authority on colorimetric determination of nonmetals and co-edited a book by the same name with Dr. David Boltz. In addition to receiving research grants, he wrote or co-wrote numerous journal articles as well as presented lectures and invited papers at a variety of professional conferences and meetings.
James A. Howell
While at WMU, Howell served for a several years as science advisor for the Detroit district of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The appointment called on him to work with the district's laboratories to develop new analytical methods, recommend and evaluate research projects, and serve as liaison to the academic community.
He also was an invited lecturer for several businesses and served as a consultant for companies in Rothschild, Wis.; South Haven, Mich.; and Kalamazoo.
Howell had been an active in professional organizations such as the American Chemical Society, along with its Analytical Division; Association of Analytical Chemists; and Federation of Analytical Chemistry and Spectroscopy Societies. He also had been a member of Sigma Xi, the Scientific Research Society; Phi Lambda Upsilon; and Pi Mu Epsilon.
The Kalamazoo resident served in the U.S. Navy from 1951 to 1955, then earned a bachelor's degree from Southern Illinois University in 1959; a master's degree from the University of Illinois, Urbana in 1961; and a doctoral degree from Wayne State University in 1964.
Prior to joining WMU's faculty, Howell was a research chemist for the Illinois State Water Survey and a consultant with Calumet and Hecla/Wolverine Tube Co. in Detroit.
Services were held Nov. 23 at the Westwood United Methodist Church in Kalamazoo.
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Memorial gifts may be made to Rose Arbor Hospice in Kalamazoo.