In Memoriam: Arthur J. Libbey
November 8, 1999
Colleagues and family members recall Arthur J. Libbey as a dedicated chemistry teacher at UConn's Waterbury campus.
Libbey, who died in June after a long illness, retired from the University in 1996. He joined the UConn faculty after he received his Ph.D. from the University in 1969.
Edward S. Kostiner, professor emeritus and former chemistry department head, recalls hiring Libbey as a faculty member. "He was a dedicated teacher," Kostiner says. "I thought the world of him. He was an extremely conscientious person."
His sister Frances Libbey, sciences bibliographer at the Homer Babbidge Library, says her brother "leaves a legacy of devotion to teaching and an ability to instill in his students an appreciation for the sciences and respect and caring for the environment.
"He enjoyed reading American Poetry and English Literature and spent leisure winter afternoons ice skating with his wife, Doris, and children," Frances Libbey recalls. "He also was quite adept at creating science kits using materials from the supermarket, for teaching school children complex scientific concepts."
Arthur Libbey taught at the Hartford campus, Central Connecticut State University, and Hartford State Technical College before joining the University faculty full-time.
He was head of the chemistry department at Hartford State Technical College, where he developed the chemistry program and helped arrange internships in the chemical industry for his students.
While teaching at the Waterbury campus, he spent most summers conducting research at the Marine Institute at Woods Hole, Mass., and with the U.S. Coast Guard at Avery Point.
After the Exxon Valdez oil spill in 1988, Libbey and other chemists spent long days in Alaska collecting and analyzing oil samples.
Libbey, who lived in Manchester, earned his bachelor's degree from Lowell Technological Institute - now the University of Massachusetts-Lowell.
In addition to his sister Frances, he is survived by his wife, Doris; five children, Cathy Kapa, Beth Grant, Gail Finn, Mary Charles and Arthur J. Libbey II; and a sister, Mary Libbey Morris; and a number of grandchildren.
A science center has been established in his memory at St. James School in Manchester. Memorial contributions in his name will be used to buy equipment, furniture and supplies for the center.