Robert Harvey Varland

Robert Harvey


Robert Harvey Varland, of Newtown Square, PA, died peacefully on April 21, 2013 at age 96.

He was born in Artesian, South Dakota, to Harvey and Josephine Varland. His family moved to Grand Forks, North Dakota where Rob completed school, excelling in vocal music and sports. Rob majored in chemistry at the University of North Dakota and the University of Illinois. Upon graduation, Rob reported to midshipman's school at Columbia University and commissioned as an Ensign in the USNR. After training assignments in small crafts and boat maintenance, he was ordered to report for duty on the transport USS Neville where he served as assistant navigator and navigator. From Boston, where Neville was decommissioned, Rob traveled back to UND where he was an instructor in chemistry and met his bride-to-be, Lois Lake, a chemistry major and medical technologist. They married in August 1950 and moved to UCLA where Rob earned a MS degree in organic chemistry.

Lois and Rob moved to Wilmington after Rob took a job in the Atlas Powder Company research department. Two of his inventions, isosorbide dinitrate and dimethyl isosorbide, are still profitably produced. At Imperial Chemical Industries, Rob was among the pioneers in the rigid urethane foam insulation industry, especially for household refrigeration. He also worked as a consultant and executive for Nipa Labs. Lois and Rob traveled extensively in the northern hemisphere. A long-time golfer, Rob played many of the great courses in the US and Great Britain.

Robert was preceded in death by his wife of 61 years, Lois Varland, and his daughter, Jane Kari Varland. He is survived by his daughter Paula Jo Graham, and four grandsons: Zaaque Varland-Hopkins; Timothy, Robert, and Daniel Graham.

Services will be Saturday, April 27 at 1pm at the White Horse Village Clubhouse, 535 Gradyville Road, Newtown Square, PA 19073. Interment will be at Arlington National Cemetery.

For online condolences, please visit



Funeral Home

Chandler Funeral Homes and Crematorium
2506 Concord Pike Wilmington, DE 19803
(302) 478-7100

Published in The News Journal on Apr. 24, 2013