Dr. Walter Lwowski
Getz Funeral Home
Las Cruces, NM
Dr. Walter Lwowski, emeritus research professor of chemistry at New Mexico State University passed away on April 19. Professor Lwowski was born on December 28, 1928 in the Bavarian Alps city of Garmish, Germany. He received his higher education at Heidelberg University receiving his doctorate in organic chemistry in 1955. Thereafter, he immigrated to the United States. Dr. Lwowski did postdoctoral work first with Donald Cram at UCLA from 1955 to 1957 and then with Robert Woodward at Harvard from 1957 to 1960. He worked with Professor Woodward on the total synthesis of chlorophyll for which Professor Woodward won the Noble Prize in Chemistry. He joined the faculty of the Department of Chemistry at Yale University in 1960. In the 1964 New Mexico State University started its Ph. D. program in chemistry, and the University was fortunate to hire Professor Lwowski away from Yale in 1966 to help develop the NMSU graduate program in organic chemistry. As a Research Professor in Chemistry he not only played a major role in the building the graduate program in chemistry, he also developed an international representation in nitrene chemistry and nitrogen heterocyclic chemistry. Professor Lwowski taught numerous masters, doctoral and postdoctoral students. His research was supported by grants from the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health, among others, and he was the author of many seminal research publications in nitrene and heterocyclic chemistry.

Prof. Lwowski was a unique individual who learned English by reading instrument repair manuals as a graduate student. In so doing he developed his lifelong interest in electronics and scientific instrumentation. He was a world class expert in nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy and his diligence in keeping these machines up and running contributed heavily to the research productivity in the Department of Chemistry. His expertise in NMR instrumentation also played a role in the development of the chemistry graduate program at the University of Texas at El Paso. According to Professor Herndon of UTEP, when UTEP's first NMR instrument was being unloaded at the Physical Science Building, the workers dropped the instrument. Professor Lwowski came to the rescue and had the instrument running in just a few hours.

He was of the old school. However, and rarely appeared in public without his customary suit and tie. It was very common to see Prof. Lwowski emerge from the dusty recesses of an instrument console or from under his car when he changed the oil in a suit and tie. Prof. Lwowski loved hiking and hiked the Organs Mountains from one end to the other- but always in a suit (no tie , however). Walter loved classical music and compiled an extensive collection of recorded music. He was also a patron of the El Paso and Las Cruces Symphonies.

Professor Lwowski retired in 1991 but retained an office and laboratory in the Department after his retirement. During his retirement he helped maintain the Department's research instrumentation, and he built chemistry demonstration equipment for undergraduate instruction. Professor Lwowski also did a great deal of traveling during his retirement frequently visiting friends in Germany, Austria and Thailand but always looked forward to returning to Las Cruces, which he truly considered his home. Professor Lwowski is survived by a brother, Hans Lwowski of Redding, CA and three nieces: Ulrike McConnell of Colorado Springs, CO, Annette Beazell of Anderson, CA and Christine Rose of San Jose, CA. At his request, cremation will take place and no services are planned.

Arrangements by Getz Funeral home corner of Solano and Bowman Ave., Las Cruces, NM 526-2419. To sign the local online guest book go to www.GetzFuneralHome.com
Published by Las Cruces Sun-News on Apr. 25, 2010.
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10 Entries
I'd like to thank Professor Lwowski for the many times I had the pleasure of meeting with him and chatting politely about a range of subjects. He was already retired, but I always recognized him by that suit and tie and he knew me as the kid who could pronounce is last name properly. That meant something to him, and I told him how much I loved the German language. Mr. Lwowski helped me with my German and encouraged me to keep studying and since he came from his country to teach here, there was no reason why I couldn't go to Heidelberg University and teach in Germany some day. That was extremely flattering...thanks and best wishes to his family.
November 10, 2011
I have met Walter twice: once Heidelberg where I was a student more interested in jazz then in chemistry, and another time in the US at a scientific meeting. His brillant book about Nitrenes accompanied me throughout my own career. I am a distant cousin of his: our grandfathers Hanstein were brothers. I am sad to hear that he is gone.
Walter Hanstein
December 5, 2010
I worked as a research assistant for Dr. Lwowski at Yale University in 1966; this was my first full time position after college graduation and an introduction to bench level research science, where I have been working ever since. He was a kind, caring, quiet, clever and somewhat unknowable man. I will always remember my inspiring year with him and his post doc, Siegfried, in the musty old organic chemistry building at Yale.
Roxanne Johnson
November 2, 2010
Thank you for your kind words about my uncle. I enjoy hearing your memories of him and would love to hear more. I will always remember his silly cat pictures at the end of his notes and his twinkling eyes as he slipped a joke into a conversation. Yes, and the suits at all times!! I admired so much in the recent years how he did what he wanted, despite his physical limitations. I am grateful that he drove out to California a few years ago for my dad's 80th birthday. What a great time we had together!
Annette (Lwowski) Beazell
April 27, 2010
Many thanks to Walter for his introduction to NMR and shimming techniques from my time with the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. It was always enjoyable to chat with Walter about his travel and interest in music.
Keith Burke
April 26, 2010
My heartfelt sympathy to Dr. Lwowski's family and his friends at NMSU. As an alumna of the chemistry department, I'm grateful for Dr. Lwowski's efforts to help develop the program there and very sad to hear of his passing.
Heather Whitley
April 26, 2010
I first had the pleasure of meeting Dr. Lwowski when he came to dinner at my parents’ house in the late 1960's. My father and he taught together in the Chemistry Department at NMSU for several decades and were the best of friends. As I grew, Walter (Dr. Lwowski) became one of my most patient mentors and friends. Never admonishing, never critical, he would simply look at me intently, then very softly say whatever needed to be said. He always had my utmost respect. He will be greatly missed by myself and my family.
Steven Richard Alexander
April 25, 2010
I worked with Professor Lwowski as a post-doc in 1965/66. He was a true gentleman.
Siegfried Linke, Odenthal, Germany
April 25, 2010
I knew Prof. Lwowski during my term as a Graduate Student in Chemistry at Yale, in the early '60's.
I remember him fondly as a superb teacher and researcher---with incidentally a terrific sense of humor. He was a gracious and kind man.
Henry Maltz, M.D., Ph.D.
Henry Maltz
April 24, 2010
Rest in peace
Lucio Pellacani
April 24, 2010
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