UI chemistry professor dies on campus

Department chair says Bitterwolf was dedicated, loving

RACHEL SUN, Evergreen reporter

Tom Bitterwolf, a University of Idaho chemistry professor, died Wednesday afternoon on campus.

A member of the department since 1988, Bitterwolf was known as a happy, caring instructor who worked hard to help his students and the community, said Ray von Wandruszka, chair of the department of chemistry.

“He was one of the most loving and dedicated teachers I have ever known,” Wandruszka said. “He set very many students on the way to very successful careers in chemistry.”

In a letter email sent to faculty, staff and students at the university and obtained by the Evergreen, President Chuck Staben wrote Bitterwolf was an organometallic chemist with an “incredible skill” for engaging students.

Bitterwolf was a Navy veteran and taught at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, before coming to UI, Staben wrote in an email.

His death was apparently from natural causes, Wandruszka said, and EMS personnel attempted to revive him upon arrival but were unsuccessful.

Bitterwolf was known to be highly involved with the local Boy Scouts, which his grandchildren had been a part of, Wandruszka said, and served as treasurer on the board of directors for the Moscow Food Co-op.

He was also named a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2014, Staben wrote, and was the inaugural recipient of the College of Science Dyess Faculty Fellowship, in addition to other university awards.

“He was a highly dedicated teacher,” Wandruszka said. “He loved his students and was loved by his students.”