George Dawson Halsey Jr.
1925 - 2016
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George Dawson Halsey Jr.

George Dawson Halsey Jr., 90, died in Seattle, WA, on January 15, 2016. A well-known figure around the University District, he always rode his bike to work at the University of Washington, where he was a professor in the Department of Chemistry. He ate lunch every day with a group of friends at the Faculty Club, where the table was never too small to accommodate another person.

Born May 28, 1925, in Washington, D.C., he moved to Pelham, NY, while still a young child. He would fondly recount stories of trips into the City with his mother. There he developed many of the enthusiasms for which he was known-music, architecture, art, and literature. He also loved trains, and kept schedules and maps of long-gone train companies and routes. During the Depression, his family moved to Columbia, SC. Despite his reluctance to leave New York, he was in many ways a Southerner.

He graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of South Carolina in 1943, received his Ph.D. from Princeton University in 1948, and was a Junior Fellow at Harvard University from 1948 until 1951, leaving to become a professor at the University of Washington. In 1955 he received a Guggenheim Fellowship. His textbook Physical Chemistry, written with three colleagues was published in 1964. In 1965 he received the Kendall Company Award in Colloid Chemistry by the American Chemical Society. He retired as professor emeritus in 1993.

He is survived by the mother of his three children, Yadviga; his children, Bill, Julia Baker, and Sarah; four grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. His family requests that donations be made to Please sign George's online Guestbook at

To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in The Seattle Times on Feb. 15, 2016.
Memories & Condolences
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8 entries
October 23, 2016
My country is El Salvador in Central America, and I was foreign student at UW in 1971-1973. I got my degrees in physics and in chemistry en 1973. As my first mayor was Physics and because of my background in chemistry, here in El Salvador, I only needed one year of Physical Chemistry to get my BS in Chemistry, with Dr. Halsey, and of course with his book, so I was no involved very deep in the life of de Chemistry Department. Is a honor to have the opportunity to have as professor the same who write the book.
But one very special people that I remember, one very, very kind and beautiful people with mi, was Dr. Halsey, and I remember him very clearly his face and riding his bike. I perceived him very kind and compressive with me, and I am extending this for other foreign student and of course other people.
Perhaps for a US citizen is very difficult to understand my feelings, but as foreign student, the cultural shock, the language barrier, the discrimination of some people, etc. make very difficult the life there, so to find one people as him is very grateful. I have in my mind, very clearly, one opportunity when we meet in the streets of UW close to the Chemistry Department, he stooped and we spoke, how I was, how El Salvador was, and so on, He always asked me, how was El Salvador.
I am now 71 years old and I have been keeping always in my mind his very nice figure. I am donate already all my books except a few, one of those is Physical Chemistry by D. F. Eggers, Jr. M. W. Gregory G. D. Halsey Jr. an B.s. Rabinoitch, this book is at my side write now.
In this day October 23/2016 I start to browse for him, I found his obituary. I regret that I never communicate with him and give my thank you, so I am sending my thank him up to the heaven. I send my more lovely thoughts and condolences to all his family and friends. I am sure he is now resting in love with God, in very very deep paz, I am asking to God that now his family have been accepted this as a natural law through which all of us are going to pass.
Napoleon Melara.
Napoleon Melara
March 1, 2016
I met George and his family through a mutual friend, Dr. Edwin Hewitt and often joined the famous UW luncheon table - always room for one more chair. The conversations were stimulating with appropriate humor intertwined.

Happy memories include attending The Ring Cycle one summer, enjoying an elegant picnic on the lawn by the UW Canal, a walk in Ravenna Park and in 1989, a sign of true friendship when George bicycled to Lakeside School to witness my niece Ronda's Scottish wedding.

I am happy that our paths crossed and I send the very best to his family.
Lisbeth Pisk
February 29, 2016
George was my friendly neighbor. We moved next door in 1994. He enjoyed our many dogs and cats, some of whom visited him regularly. George was a great conversationalist and loved to discuss events and history. As the picture indicates, he was a bit of a character. His Halloween mask with large, sharp teeth was particularly frightening but much enjoyed by the neighbor children who came to his door. George had an amazing mind and a fantastic memory. I learned much from George about various topics including railroads, growing up in Columbia, South Carolina & his insights into the UW faculty and the Ravenna neighborhood. I miss our conversations which occurred regularly over his final years. I remember George fondly when I look at his house.
Fritz Wollett
February 23, 2016
George always opened my sense of community through his unique, creative ways of biking or walking through both the University of Washington campus and the University District. In many ways he served as a vital prism: insightful about human behavior as well as wise in advising grassroots community initiatives. The University District Community Council realized its highest potential with George's gentle mentoring--and I became a much improved person thanks to George's extraordinary coaching. What a great guy!
bill mccord
February 23, 2016
My wife and I extend sincere condolences to to the family, He will be much missed.

I first met George on July 8, 1952, in Boston. George had asked his friend Tompkins, of Imperial College, London, to recommend someone for a one or two year stint on a US Air Force project. I was apparently the ideal candidate, accepted sight unseen. George took me on a tour of the important sites of Boston, with special attention given to the Locke-Ober Cafe: the pleasures of an elegant life were quite high on George's menu! We then discussed the research project with our contract monitor, transferred to Cape Cod for a brief reunion with Harvard friends, then off to Seattle! The warmth of George's welcome, followed by an equally generous reception at the U of W, was quite overwhelming.

I spent three glorious and productive years working with George, two on the original contract, and a further year on a catalysis study financed by a grant which George had obtained for me! Most days we walked off campus for lunch at The Greeks and every day brought new insights, scientific and otherwise, from George. Life was never dull!

I left Seattle in the summer of 1955 to work at Westinghouse R & D with a host of happy memories and a lovely wife, Dolores. George and I stayed in touch over these many years and I feel fortunate indeed to have counted him as a best friend.

Jack Singleton
Jack Singleton
February 22, 2016
George at U of W, 6/1955
Jack Singleton
February 16, 2016
George recruited me into the Department of Chemistry in 1968, where I remained for 21 years. He was one of my best friends during that time and in the ensuing years, and I shared many a lunch with him. He is sorely missed. My deepest condolences to the family.
Bruce Eichinger
February 16, 2016
I remember well the "famous" Faculty Club table. My husband Leonard was good friends with George and shared table stories. Such a memorable character. Condolences to his family.
Susan Sarason
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