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Jesse Stone BINFORD Jr.

1928 - 2014 Obituary Condolences Gallery
Jesse Stone BINFORD Jr. Obituary
BINFORD, Jr., Jesse Stone

Jesse Stone Binford, Jr., 85, died at his home in Austin on March 27, 2014.

Jesse was a chemistry professor for 48 years, specializing in calorimetry, the science of measuring heat from chemical processes. With his wife, Lolita, who preceded him in death by seven weeks, he was an avid traveler and a community activist. He was also an enthusiastic bicyclist from the late 1950s until just months before his death.

Jesse was born in Freeport on November 1, 1928, and grew up primarily in Houston, where he graduated from Lamar High School and then earned a BA in chemistry from Rice Institute (now Rice University) in 1950. Among honors he received at Rice was election to the Phi Beta Kappa society. He went on to earn two graduate degrees in chemistry - an MA from Rice in 1952 and a PhD from the University of Utah in 1955.

Jesse and Lolita married on June 8, 1955, in Salt Lake City, Utah, and moved to Austin where he began teaching chemistry at the University of Texas. He subsequently taught at the University of the Pacific in Stockton, California, and then at the University of South Florida, in Tampa. He taught at USF from 1961 to 2003, with leaves for research and teaching at the National University of Honduras, where he was also head of the chemistry department; at the University of Lund, Sweden; at the University of London and at Rice. At USF he implemented innovative teaching techniques, including performing chemical demonstrations, teaching in small sections, peer-teaching and the early use of personal computers. He won multiple awards for his teaching, published 20 professional articles and wrote a college textbook, Foundations of Chemistry.

Jesse was active in representing his fellow faculty in university governance. He was elected four times as the President/Speaker of the USF Faculty Senate and once as Chair of the Faculty Senate Council of the entire Florida university system.

One of his greatest pleasures was to be faculty advisor to the USF bicycle club for 32 years. The club was very active during these years, sponsoring hundreds of recreational rides around central Florida, hosting occasional bicycle races on campus and providing bicycle tools and workshop space on campus. Jesse was a visionary advocate for the use of bicycles as a serious mode of transportation. He commuted to work by bicycle, and lobbied for bike lanes and racks on and around campus. He served as chair of the bicycle advisory committee for Hillsborough County government and was a charter member of a similar committee for the Florida Department of Transportation. Both groups were influential in funding the widening of roads and highways to add lanes reserved for bicycles.

Jesse was a dedicated member of the First United Church of Tampa and the Congregational Church of Austin, serving for many years as a board trustee and in other roles.

After retiring from teaching in 2003, Jesse was awarded the position of Emeritus Professor of Chemistry at USF, and later returned with Lolita to live in Austin. Together in Austin, they actively supported numerous political campaigns, worked for social justice through their church and happily spent time with family.

Jesse is survived by son Lincoln and his wife Nancy; son Jason and his wife Claire Barnes; grandchildren Emily, Noah, and Trevor; and sister Marialice Shaffer and her husband Joe Shaffer, all of Austin.

A memorial service will be held Saturday, April 12, at 2 pm at the Congregational Church of Austin. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests a donation to the Congregational Church of Austin, to a college or university of your choice or to the League of American Bicyclists.

Obituary and memorial guestbook available online at www.wcfish.com
Published in Austin American-Statesman from Apr. 10 to Apr. 11, 2014
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