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Dr. John Edward Bloor


1929 - 2019
Dr.  John Edward Bloor Obituary
Dr. John Edward Bloor

Knoxville - Dr. John Edward Bloor gave his last lecture as he passed away peacefully on June 6, 2019, at the tender age of 89.

John was born on August 31, 1929 in Stoke-On-Trent, England. He was the only child of Ernest and Dora Bloor (nee Hatton). He won a scholarship to Oxford University to study chemistry, and completed his PhD at Manchester University in 1959.

He left England in 1960 as part of the transatlantic 'brain drain', upon being offered a job in Canada with the British Columbia Research Council. In 1964 he migrated again, this time taking his young family to the USA to join the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia. He became Associate Professor at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville in 1965, and in 1969 he accepted the academic appointment he would hold for the next 26 years, at the University of Tennessee.

John taught Chemistry at University of Tennessee from 1969 until his retirement to become Professor emeritus in 1995. His initial background in organic chemistry developed as he recognized the value of computer simulation to assist in solving chemical problems. This research and its application to materials testing took him to projects at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Over the years he supervised many graduate and post-doctoral chemistry students as advisor, mentor, collaborator and co-author. This was recognized by the establishment of the University of Tennessee annual graduate award, the John E. Bloor Award in Physical Chemistry.

Having played rugby football at Oxford University, John was approached by several students in 1970, who wanted to play the sport at University of Tennessee. He and then graduate student Fred Masri coached the young team to early success to establish University of Tennessee Rugby Football, which will begin its 50-year celebrations later this year.

Outside university life, John became interested in magic and conjuring in 1972 during a family visit to the magic shop in Ripley's museum in Gatlinburg which ignited a passion that maintained throughout his life, much to the dismay of his very patient wife. He joined the local branch of the International Brotherhood of Magicians, Ring 58 - "The Smoky Mountain Mystics" in which he was active for 40+ years. John became known for his support for young and newly interested magicians, for his hospitality towards leading performers from around the world who visited Knoxville, and for a stage persona which combined a desire to introduce impressive and complex magical effects with comedic acceptance of the occasional mistake. He combined his love of magic with his profession when he developed a chemical magic show, which introduced young people to key concepts of science, chemistry, and the opportunities offered by the University of Tennessee to explore.

In addition, John developed an interest in local wildlife, honing his skills as a "raccoon whisperer" and hosting nightly dinner parties on his back patio. This served the duel function of attending to his new friends and making use of the 267 empty frozen dinner trays that were neatly stacked in his kitchen cabinet.

John is survived by his long suffering wife of 59 years, Pamela (née Brown); children, Christopher and Anne Bloor Henderson; Son-in-law Walker Henderson; and two grandchildren, Margo and Laura, as well as numerous neighborhood raccoons, chipmunks and stray cats.

A celebration of John's life will be held after a decent somber morning period in order to justify the hilarity that is sure to ensue in recounting the countless John Bloor stories. It will most likely include a rugby game, magic show and hopefully a pub visit of some kind. It will hopefully not include local wildlife.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations in memory of John can be made to the University of Tennessee Rugby team at https://www.tennesseerugby.com/donate.
Published in Knoxville News Sentinel on June 14, 2019
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