James Maloney

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. 

5 Condolences

  1. Phillip Kurata on February 6, 2010 at 12:00 am

    Dear Kathy, Nancy and Jack,

    I talked with my mom last night and she told me about the passing of your father. I’d just like to say that I thought very highly of your dad. He took me under his wing and spent many hours teaching me to play tennis. We did drills that helped me hone my groundstrokes. I was able to play number one on the Lawrence High tennis team for two years, in large part thanks to his coaching. But more importantly, he was one of the few adults who took an interest in me when I was a boy. I can’t tell you how much that means to me today. Later on, when I was a young adult we would meet occasionally at the tennis courts and chat and I told him what I was up. I told him about my experiences in the Peace Corps, East Asia and journalism. He recommended that I check out the State Department as a place to work. I didn’t give it much thought then, because I was a journalist, someone who dealt with power from the outside and I figured that I didn’t have the temperament to work within a bureaucracy. But with the passage of time, I end up working for the State Department. Your dad in his gentle low key way played an important role in my life. You have a lot to be proud of in your father.

    To bring you up to date about my life, I am 63 now. I work in the public diplomacy bureau of the State Department. I worked in Basra, Iraq from 2006 to 2007 in stabilization work. It is possible that I will go to Afghanistan this year to do similar work.

    I have had four failed marriages. I have a 26-year-old daughter, Shana, from my third marriage. She is an employee of the Defense Intelligence Agency. She has just joined the Afghanistan-Pakistan office in the DIA. She said that she hopes that she and I have the chance to work in Afghanistan at the same time. That would be something, wouldn’t it?

    Earlier, I worked as a radio reporter for Voice of America and a print journalist for several wire services and magazines. In addition to Peace Corps, I worked in public health for another development organization — Project HOPE — in Tunisia.

    I would enjoy hearing from you all. Kathy, does your father’s passing affect your plans for the future?

    Warm wishes to all. Phil Kurata

  2. Bruce Roberts on February 6, 2010 at 12:00 am

    Kathy and Jack,

    My sincerest condolences to you at this time in your lives, and for all of your family.

    I treasure my friendships with you both, and can attribute that to your father, without a doubt.


    Bruce Roberts

  3. Julie Hawkins-Johnson on February 22, 2010 at 12:00 am

    I’m sorry to hear of your loss. My name is Julie Hawkins-Johnson and I knew Dr. Maloney as a Business student at KU, earning my way by working as a Student Assistant in the Office of Chemical and Petroleum Engingeering. Dr. Maloney recognized my penchant for literature and poetry and surprised me one day when he chose a piece of poetry and instructed me to memorize it and then be able to recite it out loud in one weeks time, which of course I did. How kind of him to reach out to a student and help to show them where their talents and abilities lie. He went on to suggest many poems, most were classics that have been committed to memory. One in particular comes to mind that I would like to share with you. It is one Dr. Malney seemed to like by Housman, is short and one of the first memorized. God’s peace and grace be with your family at this time.

    Julie Johnson

    With rue my heart is laden
    For golden friends I had
    For many rose lipped maiden
    And many a light-foot lad

    By brooks too broad for leapin
    The light-foot lads are laid
    The rose lipped maids lie sleepin
    In fields where roses fade

    A.E Housman

  4. T Williams on March 10, 2010 at 12:00 am

    Please accept our sincere condolences on the loss of your dear loved one. May you find comfort and hope in the Bible’s promise, “Your dead ones will live. . . . They will rise up.” –Isaiah 26:19 The Bible teaches that man was not created by God to die, but death came about as a result of sin, way back in the Garden of Eden. –Romans 5:12. So even though death has afflicted mankind down to our day, God promises to undo the effects of death and even do away with death itself. Please read this for yourself at Revelation 21:3, 4. What a wonderful hope is presented in God’s Word. . . being able to live right here on earth in paradisaic conditions with our loved ones beside us. –Psalms 37:29 It is our hope that reading these scriptures will comfort you during this time of loss.

  5. Narayan Hospeti on March 15, 2019 at 5:27 pm

    My name is Dr Narayan Hospeti. I was a student at KU from 1962 to 1966. He helped immensely during my study for MS and PhD in Chemicsl Engineering. Rest In Peace Dr Maloney

    Narayan Hospeti PhD

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