Albert William Burgstahler

A Memorial Mass for Albert William Burgstahler, 85, Lawrence will be held 10:00 a.m.Friday, October 18, 2013 at St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church. He died Saturday, October 12, 2013 at his home.

Albert was born July 10, 1928 in Grand Rapids, MI the son of Albert Ernest and Constance (Foster) Burgstahler.

He received his BS in Chemistry in 1949 from the University of Notre Dame, his MA, cum laude in 1950 from Harvard University, and his PhD, cum laude in 1953 from Harvard University. He studied at the University of London and University of Wisconsin. In 2006 he received the Scientific Integrity Award for Fluoride Action Network which is awarded annually to scientists upholding the highest standards of scientific integrity in the effort to end fluoridation worldwide.

He was a member of St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church.

He began his life-long career at the University of Kansas in 1956 as an Associate Professor in Chemistry. He then became a full Professor of Chemistry in 1965. He became Professor Emeritus of Chemistry in 1998.

At the University of Kansas his teaching and research were devoted mainly to general and organic chemistry and the synthesis and chemistry of natural products. Other interests included toxic effects of environmental pollutants. His true passion was helping to eliminate fluoridation of public water all over the world. His interest in fluoride began in the early 1960’s and in a short time he became one of the world’s best known authors on the dangers of fluoridation. He was the editor and chief of the quarterly scientific journal Fluoride, published since 1968 by the International Society for Fluoride Research.

Albert enjoyed his studies on the Shakespeare Authorship question which began in 1997 and he presented international lectures and research papers on the subject.

He married Patricia Lois Bokor August 12, 1957. She preceded him in death April 17, 2010 after 53 years of marriage.

Survivors include three daughters, Maria Bokor, Tacoma, WA, Janet Anderson, Jennifer Burgstahler, both of Durango, CO; two sons, Albert, and wife, Marina Burgstahler, Annandale, VA, David, and wife, Leslie Burgstahler, New York, NY; ten grandchildren, Kimberly, and husband, Stewart Cooper, Lawrence, KS, Inga Burgstahler and Phillip Burgstahler, both of Annandale, VA, Tristram McDermott and Anna McDermott, both of Tacoma, WA, Nathaniel, and wife Cheryl Anderson of Houston, TX, Anthony Anderson of Durango, CO, David Burgstahler, Katherine Burgstahler and Elizabeth Burgstahler all of New York, NY; five great grandchildren, Marguerite, Patricia and Kenneth Cooper all of Lawrence, KS, Jackson and Jace Anderson, both of Houston, TX; one sister, Bobbie, and husband, Ray Landis, East Lansing, MI. He was also preceded in death by two sisters, Helen Boss in 2011, and Margaret Hiemstra.

Friends of Albert’s that are of notable mention; Bruce Spittle, lifelong friend and editor of the Fluoride Journal; Kok Thai, a former student of Albert’s and a great friend ever since; and everyone in the KU Chemistry Department.

A special thank you to Brenda Thompson, who was caregiver for both Albert & Patricia.

The family suggests memorials in his name to the International Society for Fluoride Research and may be sent in care of the mortuary.

26 Condolences

  1. Diane Drayton Buckland on October 15, 2013 at 8:43 am

    Devastating to hear the passing of Albert William Burgstahler – the world is far worse off for the loss of this remarkable human being and gentleman.
    Goodbye to dear Albert who will never be forgotten; nor his incredible work.

    In Great Sadness and may our loving thoughts and respects go to Albert’s most loving and devoted family.

    Thank you Albert for being you!

    Diane Drayton Buckland, Independent Researcher
    Queensland, Australia

  2. Russell Blaylock on October 15, 2013 at 9:43 am

    While saddened at the earthly passing of my friend Albert, I a gladdened by the knowledge that he is now in Heaven with the Savior and with his dear wife. Albert was a very special person. We had conversed on faith as well as his many scientific interest over the years. Albert’s passing will leave the world without one of its greatest minds and protectors. His heart was pure, which explained his devotion to integrity, virtue and honesty in all things. I pray for his dear family, knowing well the grief that touches us all in life.

  3. Kurt and Marcy Irmischer on October 15, 2013 at 1:53 pm

    Don’t think of him as gone away-
    his journey’s just begun,

    life holds so many facets-
    this earth is only one.

    Thank you for sharing your knowledge and insights,

    All the best, Albert.

  4. Steve Shawl on October 15, 2013 at 6:05 pm

    I will remember Al for his great enthusiasm about everything he did. Running into him on campus after his retirement was always a joy to catch up on his current thoughts. I certainly did not know him well, but he seemed like a true gentleman and the world could use more like him.

  5. Douglas Holub on October 16, 2013 at 12:22 am

    My condolences go out to Dr. Burgstahler’s family. I hope that you can find some comfort in knowing that he touched so many people in a positive way! I did not know him very well but he was always kind and helpful when I had the chance to meet him in Malott Hall. I feel blessed to have known him and to have had the opportunity to experience his exuberance for knowledge and life! I will never forget his wonderful smile and the glitter in his eye when he helped a person to understand a difficult concept. The world will miss such a wonderful human being!

  6. Rochelle Comfort on October 16, 2013 at 10:04 pm

    I am so sorry for your loss. Almost 20 years ago, Dr. Burgstahler was my Chemistry professor at KU. When we found out that he would be teaching our lecture, we were terrified. The older girls in my scholarship hall talked about how even the students at K-State had heard of Dr. Burgstahler because he was such a tough professor. It didn’t take long for us to realize that he WAS a really tough professor, but that was because he was incredibly smart. I was so scared of not doing well that I studied and I studied and when I thought I had studied enough, I studied some more. I ended up getting an A in his class. It was one of the hardest A’s I earned at KU. It still makes me smile when I think about it now. As my 5 children grow up, they will hear the story of Dr. Burgstahler and how much I learned from him. He molded more students than you can imagine. Your family is in our thoughts.

  7. Mrs. Carole Lynn Steiner on October 17, 2013 at 6:01 pm

    It is with great sadness that I learn of Dr. Burgstahler’s passing. There are too few wonderful people in this world who contribute to the betterment of our planet, and we have now lost one more to heaven. I trust that he is continuing the fight against fluoridation from his now higher plain! while leaving his family to honor him and to be consoled by his goodness and warmed by nice memories.

  8. Mrs. Carole Lynn Steiner on October 17, 2013 at 6:02 pm

    It is with great sadness that I learn of Dr. Burgstahler’s passing. There are too few wonderful people in this world who contribute to the betterment of our planet, and we have now lost one more to heaven. I trust that he is continuing the fight against fluoridation from his now higher plain! while leaving his family to honor him and to be consoled by his goodness and warmed by nice memories.
    New York, New York

  9. Juan Reyes on October 17, 2013 at 6:21 pm

    My sincere condolences to all those close to Albert.

    Thank you Albert for your contribution to our communal awakening.
    and helping to inform others of that which they ought to know.

    En lakesh

  10. Anne T. Skorupski on October 17, 2013 at 6:48 pm

    For all the work Dr. Burgstahler has done to rid the world of the evil of fluoridation there has to be a special place for him in Heaven. God be with you, Albert, and yours!

  11. John V. Whaley, D. C. on October 17, 2013 at 8:27 pm

    So sorry to hear the news of his passing. We did a radio show on fluoride when Chicago was going to add fluoride to the Chicago water. WBBM was the radio station. Dr. Burgstahler’s knowledge of fluoride was outstanding. He knew what was going on everywhere concerning fluoride.

  12. Vinod Barot on October 17, 2013 at 11:36 pm

    I am deeply saddened by the loss of Albert William Burgstahler. You will remain always in our prayers and thoughts. Your superb research on Fluoride will be immortal.

    May god bring peace to your soul.

    Thanks for being with us in fighting against Fluorosis.
    Vinod Barot,

  13. Charleston neighborhood Preservation on October 17, 2013 at 11:50 pm

    May you Family Members take solace in being related in any way with Albert Bergstahler and may you all be honorably stalwart and learned as was he as you choose a cause. Our little group has not succeeded in stopping public water fluoridation of our largest county, but were successful with the 1 of 17 with the next highest population. We send condolences to all. Lets be motivated in our individual ways to be most effective in saving all lives and those qualities which some of mankind are want to harm. J. Clark-member ”””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””’

  14. Roger D. Masters on October 18, 2013 at 3:18 am

    Albert Burgstahler was a serious and public spirited scholar who played a vital role in establishing the scientific study of fluoride compounds (i.e., compounds in which the element fluorine is bonded to other elements) and their hydrolysis (the general process by which fluoride compounds dissociate either partly or entirely into their component elements, sometimes forming new compounds in the process). This research made it possible to consider the effects of the dissociation products of fluoride compounds, particularly when broadly released into human environments. In my contacts with him (which were largely limited to scientific correspondence), he epitomized the importance of maintaining the highest scientific standards while showing generosity and helpful comments to others working on this important new area of toxicological research.

  15. William J. Ray on October 18, 2013 at 2:57 pm

    To the family of Albert Burgstahler, I would say it was a happy privilege for me to correspond with him and exchange many thoughts, not just those concerning the identity of the true “Shakespeare”.

    It is an indication of Albert’s moral stature that with all his knowledge and responsibilities he sought to plumb and solve one of the primary and most tragic puzzles in Western Civilization.

    I think one motivation Albert had for this avocation was his compassion. Edward de Vere, about whom Albert found copious proof of “Shakespeare” as his pseudonym, was forced to embed his identity in covert ways into his work, by systems and means only the most inquisitive, perceptive, and skilled minds could detect after so many centuries. He was certainly one of those minds and must be considered a pioneer in solving an historical and cultural enigma.

    This is in addition to be a world-class authority in his field and a legend as a professor.

    He confided in me when his wife began to fail and died, and I saw a dignity and love there that is not entirely of this world. As he struggled to adjust to his loss, he regained concentration and energy and continued on, -living in a sense for her as well as himself.

    I am reminded of something Richard Feynman said about the looming prospect of his own death. He said he feels an impending sense of loss, but since by now he was spread out into other people, his life would be there. As this was true for Feynman, and it may describe Albert incorporating the spirit of his dear wife into himself, so now I like to think he is everywhere among the souls he touched and aided. I’m glad about that.

    with kind good wishes,

    William Ray

  16. Leland Weigel on October 21, 2013 at 4:02 pm

    I was deeply saddened by the passing of my Mentor and friend Albert Burgstahler. I know he is in a better place and I hope there is no fluoride in heaven.

  17. Elke Babiuk on October 24, 2013 at 4:02 pm

    I would like to offer the Burgstahler family my sincere condolences. I am deeply saddened by Albert’s death and didn’t know until today. I worked with Albert for the International Society for Fluoride Research from 1998 until 2002. My life was richer for knowing Albert. He will be sorely missed.

  18. Norm and Anne Yetman on October 29, 2013 at 2:30 pm

    To the Burgstahler family:
    Anne and I have been out of town—in Stone Harbor, NJ—for most of the fall and only now have learned of your father’s death, which immensely saddened us both. Your father was a consummate scholar and scientist and a good neighbor and friend, and we will miss his warm sense of humor and his inquisitive mind, especially concerning things Shakespeare. I know that Jill and Doug join us in sending our condolences and warmest regards to all of you.

  19. Dick Bearman on December 19, 2013 at 1:36 am

    I was a colleague of Al Burgstahler from 1957 to 1972.
    Subsequently we kept in touch at Christmas each year. Pat and Al introduced my wife, Mirion, to me and we have now been married for 52 years. Our lives would have been totally different and less rich had we not known you. So, thank you, Al, from Mirion and myself. We will always keep you in our memories.

  20. iwona inkielewicz-stepniak, marek stepniak on March 21, 2014 at 2:26 pm

    We are deeply grieved to learn about the passing of Albert Burgstahler. We met him two years ago in Gdansk, Poland. We made beautiful and quick tour through our three cities placed next to the Gdanska bay. The news of his death came as a shock to us. We are sure that it is now a difficult time for all of us. We will remeber him as a great, inexhaustible, tireless man with unfailing courtesy. Great, that we have chance to met him.
    with deepest sorrow
    iwona and marek

  21. Zeus Yiamouyiannis and Natalie Brinkman on March 31, 2014 at 7:50 pm

    We’re sorry to see the passing of a tireless advocate and great comrade and ally to my deceased father, John Yiamouyiannis, in the fight against water fluoridation. Zeus sends his condolences belatedly along with his mother, Natalie Brinkman, who was also a good friend of the Burgstahlers. Rest in peace, Albert Burgstahler, you have fought well for the good. With warmth for his living and sorrow for his passing, Zeus and Natalie.

  22. Warren L. Bosch on September 1, 2014 at 9:37 pm

    Dr. Burgstahler was one of the most brilliant chemists I ever met, setting a standard not even approached by anyone else in my own professorial career. The gentleman had a real “presence”, too.

  23. Rogers Starks on January 30, 2016 at 7:04 pm

    Great man, hero to lovers of truth and right! People will appreciate his stand on flouride once more information about this dangerous substance becomes public knowlege Thank you.

  24. Lisa Sims on October 31, 2017 at 1:34 pm

    Tried to call him at KU yesterday and learned of his passing. Wanted to volunteer as a lab rat, as I have this syndrome. I have a M.S. from Kansas State University (1992), if any researches would like to talk with me. Let’s keep his work going.

  25. Lisa Sims on October 31, 2017 at 1:39 pm

    posted above 10/31/17

  26. Sturgis Gregg Allen on August 28, 2023 at 7:16 am

    My research advisor as an Undergraduate. Coauthored a paper with him and faculty working for NASA foe the Ozone hole that occurs over Antarctica. Extremely intelligent man and a GREAT person.

    Gregg Allen

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