Memorial service for James O. Maloney, 94, Professor Emeritus of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering at the University of Kansas, will be held 10 a.m., Saturday, February 6, 2010 at Trinity Lutheran Church, Lawrence, Kansas. He died Thursday, February 4, 2010 at Lawrence Presbyterian Manor.
He was born on April 29, 1915 in St. Joseph, Missouri the son of John C. and Jean (Clay) Maloney. Jim spent most of his youth in Kansas City, Missouri, where he graduated from Westport High School in 1931. He was a high-level tennis player, winning the Kansas City Juniors championship in 1933, playing varsity tennis at the University of Illinois, and continuing to play regularly well into his advanced years.
He received his bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Illinois in 1936 and his master’s (1939) and Ph.D. (1941) degrees from Pennsylvania State College. He joined the DuPont Company in Wilmington, Delaware, in 1941 and was, for much of World War II, on loan from DuPont to Columbia University and the University of Chicago for work on the Manhattan Project, which designed the first nuclear weapons. His work on the Manhattan Project brought him into contact with the physicist Enrico Fermi and the chemist Harold Urey, both of whom were recipients of the Nobel Prize.
Maloney was chairman of the Department of Chemical & Petroleum Engineering at the University of Kansas from 1945 until 1964 and served as professor until his retirement in 1985.
His forty years at the University of Kansas were punctuated by Fulbright Lectureships at universities in Italy, Egypt, Greece, and Korea and by a term at the Economic Development Institute of the World Bank in Washington, D.C. He served as an assistant editor and a contributing author of Perry’s Chemical Engineers’ Handbook, a standard reference work in the profession, and as editor and a contributing author of A History of the School of Engineering at the University of Kansas 1868-1988. His expertise and interests ranged far beyond his technical field. Widely knowledgeable in history, literature, and art, he served as a faculty discussion leader in sections of the College of Liberal Arts’ required undergraduate course in Western Civilization and as a member of the faculty advisory committee that shaped the Western Civilization curriculum.
He was a fellow of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
He married Dorothy Burkholder on September 10, 1940 in Greencastle Pennsylvania. She preceded him in death February 20, 2002.
Survivors include two daughters, Nancy Rich of Denver, Colorado and, Kathy Heerwald, of Lawrence, Kansas; one son, John C. Maloney and wife, Sarah of Denver, Colorado; four grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.
Memorial contributions may be made in his name to the Good Samaritan Fund at Lawrence Presbyterian Manor and may be sent in care of the mortuary.