Cynthia Katherine McClure, known as "Cyd" to all of her friends, was born on Sept. 20, 1953, in Lubbock, Texas, to James Warren McClure and Hildegarde Helena Hamer. Cyd passed away in Bozeman, on May 6, 2014 at the age of 60 years, 7 months, and 16 days. Cyd and her two sisters and her brother were raised on the South Side of Chicago by her mom and grandmother Emma (and Emil) Hamer. Cyd graduated from Oak Lawn Community High School in 1971 where she was an outstanding clarinet player. She earned her undergraduate degree in chemistry from Northwestern University in 1975. She earned a master's degree in organic chemistry from the University of Wisconsin at Madison in 1977. She worked for the Upjohn Company in Kalamazoo, Mich., from 1978-1980. Cyd then returned to the University of Wisconsin-Madison to earn her Ph.D. in organic chemistry in 1985. She was a postdoctoral research fellow at Cambridge University, England, from 1985 until 1987. Cyd's first job in academia was in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of Delaware. Shortly after earning tenure at Delaware, Cyd moved to the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at Montana State University. Cyd was an associate professor at Montana State from 1994 until she retired in 2009.
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Throughout her career, Cyd was a champion for women in science, and she was the first woman faculty member in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at Montana State University. Cyd's research was focused on the development of new methods for the synthesis of pentacovalent organophosphorus compounds, and she published many papers in this area. Throughout her academic career, Cyd taught organic chemistry to hundreds if not thousands of students.
Cyd had a lifelong passion for adventure. She loved to travel, she loved to be outside, especially if she was riding horses, and she was constantly active. Cyd dearly loved her horses and her cats. Cyd was a member of the Equitation Team at Cambridge University, England where she successfully participated in jumping and riding competitions. She spent many hours in the exercise room and never passed up an opportunity to be outdoors. She also enjoyed quiet times observing nature and soaking up sunshine. She enjoyed trying new restaurants and cafes as they opened in Bozeman. Pursuit of good food was one of many activities that gave her joy and something she looked forward to. After she retired, Cyd volunteered at a local non-profit, telling entertaining stories of living in England, riding her horses, teaching at MSU, playing rugby, and of college pranks and academic honors.
Cyd was a tall athletic woman with bright red hair and an impressive appearance. Her intelligence, positive energy and charismatic charm endeared her to colleagues, friends, and students. She will always be remembered as one of the very good people to have passed through our lives.
Cyd is preceded in death by her parents, James and Hildegarde McClure. She is survived by her two sisters, Eileen and Carl Zarling, Anita and Scott Bryll; and her brother, Michael and Sharon McClure. She had three nieces and eight nephews who were all quite special to her.
Memorial donations may be made to the MSU Foundation, PO Box 172750, Bozeman, MT 59717-2750. Please attach a note designating the donation in memory of Dr. Cyd McClure to the chemistry scholarship fund.
Published in Bozeman Daily Chronicle on Aug. 19, 2014