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Gainesville - Paul Tarrant, 99, of Gainesville, FL, passed away on Friday, July 4, 2014 in Gainesville. Paul was born in Birmingham, AL to George Brittain and Alva Tarrant Brittain on November 1, 1914.

His mother died shortly after he was born, and he was raised by his maternal grandparents, Dr. James and Margaret Tarrant. He attended Birmingham schools and graduated from Woodlawn High School. After completing his B.S. degree in chemistry from Howard College in Birmingham, he secured a M.S. degree at Purdue University. His interest in organofluorine chemistry led him to Duke University for his Ph.D. He worked for a few years at American Cyanamid in Stanford, CT. He moved to Gainesville in 1946 with his wife, Viola, and mother-in-law, Ava Griffin. to join the faculty of the UF Chemistry Department.

Among his pioneering achievements at the University of Florida was initiating the first "sponsored" research program on campus, funded by the Office of Naval Research in 1948. He attained the rank of Professor in 1957. He served as Chairman of the Organic Division of the Chemistry Department for 15 years. In total, he directed the Ph.D. degree work of 20 young men and women, as well as the M.S. studies of another 20; also, he served as mentor to about 25 post-doctoral fellows. With 58 pioneering papers and 17 patents to his credit, Paul made diverse and significant contributions to the field of synthetic organofluorine chemistry. He received American Chemical Society recognition through the Florida Section Award in 1966, the Southern Chemist Award in 1963, and the Fluorine Division Award for Creative Work in Fluorine Chemistry in 1976. Paul was very active in the Fluorine Division of the ACS, serving as Secretary of the Fluorine Subsection of the Industrial Chemistry Section for several years, and when the Fluorine Section was formed in 1960, he became its first Chairman. He was influential in the continuation of the International Fluorine Symposia after the first one at the University of Birmingham, and he helped to organize the second one in Estes Park, Colorado, in 1962. Paul was the Editor of Fluorine Chemistry Reviews from 1967 to 1977.

Paul and his friend and colleague at the University of Florida, George Butler, founded Peninsular Chem Research (PCR), incorporated, with the intent of "doing research and making chemicals". Over the years the name of this company became synonymous with specialty organofluorine reagents, and PCR has been supplying specialty fluorine-containing chemicals to researchers and companies for more than 40 years. One of Paul's major accomplishments at PCR was to develop a commercially viable synthesis for the cancer-fighting drug, 5-fluorouracil.

After Viola died in 1971, he met and married Marian L. Christie in 1972. Following his retirement from UF in 1980, he and Marian kept up with family, friends, former students, and post-docs, playing a little golf, travelling extensively, and spending time at his beloved Lake Rosa. After Marian died in 1996, Paul endowed the Tarrant Visiting Professorship in Organic Chemistry to honor the memory of his beloved wives, Viola and Marian. As a result of his generosity, 34 eminent organic chemists from all over the world have visited the Department for two to three weeks to give lectures and interact with faculty and graduate students.

He was predeceased by his 2 wives: Viola G. Tarrant and Marian C. Tarrant, and a brother, George D. Brittain. Survivors include 3 daughters: Linda (Tom) Smith of Gainesville, Paula Tarrant of Gainesville, and Sandy (Bert) Bernreuter of Jacksonville, FL,; step daughters: Janet Christie of Gainesville and Barbara (Charles) Johnston of Jacksonville; grandson Craig Tarrant Smith of Tampa, FL, step grandsons: David (Katelyn) Johnston of Jacksonville, FL and Daniel Johnston of Jacksonville, FL; and nephew Felix Brittain of Ft. Myers, FL.

A memorial service will be held Thursday, July 10 at 2:00 pm at Milam Funeral Home Chapel in Gainesville. Burial will be done privately earlier that day at Evergreen Cemetery in Gainesville. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Red Cross, Salvation Army, or Haven Hospice.

Arrangements are under the care of MILAM FUNERAL AND CREMATION SERVICES 311 South Main Street, Gainesville, FL 32601 (352) 376-5361.

Funeral Home
Milam Funeral Home and Cremation Services, Inc. of Gainesville
311 South Main Street
Gainesville, FL 32601-1803
(800) 433-5361
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Published in Gainesville Sun from July 8 to July 9, 2014
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