Albert Welford Castleman, Jr, known commonly as Will, died on February 28, 2017 at the age of 81 in Arlington, VA. He was born January 7, 1936 in Richmond, VA to Albert Welford Castleman, Sr. and Mildred Louise Castleman,: at age 11 moved with his parents to Northport, Long Island, where he graduated from Northport High School (1953). He married Heide Gisela Engel on March 10, 1976 in Boulder, CO. In May of 1982, as brand new parents, they moved to State College, PA where they resided until moving full time to Washington, D.C. in 2015. He retired in May of 2016.
Will’s passion for science, learning and discovery spanned all the years of his life. He earned his B.Ch.E. from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (1957) and a joint Ch.E., physical Chemistry and mathematics Ph.D. Degree from the Polytechnic Institute of New York (1969). He joined the staff of the Brookhaven National Laboratory (1958-1975), became Adjunct Professor in the Departments of Mechanics and Earth and Space Sciences at State University of New York, Stony Brook (1973-1975), and was Professor of Chemistry and Fellow of CIRES at the University of Colorado, Boulder (1975-1982). In 1982 he accepted a professorship in the Department of Chemistry at The Pennsylvania State University, and was given the distinction of the Evan Pugh Professor title in 1986. In 1999 he was appointed Eberly Distinguished Chair in Science, and a joint professor in the Department of Physics. He was a member, on the Advisory Board for The Penn State Particulate Materials Center, and a member of the Materials Research Institute.
Will was a Sherman Fairchild Distinguished Scholar at Cal Tech (1977), was elected a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (1985), a Fellow of the American Physical Society (1985), and a Senior Fellow of the Japanese Society for the Promotion of Science (1985 and 1997). He was awarded a Doktors Honoris Causa from the University of Innsbruck, Austria (1987), the recipient of the American Chemical Society Award for Creative Advances in Environmental Science and Technology (1988), was a Fulbright Senior Scholar (1989), and three times was named a U.S. Senior Scientist von Humboldt Awardee (1986, 1996, and 2007). He received the Wilhelm Jost Memorial Lectureship 2000 Award from the German Chemical Society (Bunsen-Gesellschaft fuer Physikalische Chemie), as well as the Rensselaer distinguished alumni Thomas W. Phelan Fellows Award (2007), and the Irving Langmuir award in Chemical Physics from the ACS (2010).
In 1998, Will was elected a Member of the National Academy of Sciences. The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) is a private, non-profit society of distinguished scholars. Established by an Act of Congress and signed by President Abraham Lincoln in 1863, the NAS is charged with providing independent, objective advice to the nation on matters related to science and technology. Scientists are elected by their peers to membership in the NAS for outstanding contributions to research. That same year he was also elected a Fellow of the American Academy for Arts and Sciences, and a Fellow of the New York Academy of Sciences. Through the course of his career Will has written and published over 600 papers relating to his extensive work and research, in addition to publishing several books and editing other technical works.
Will was a man of great integrity, with a lifetime curiosity that took him far beyond conventional thinking. He was a kind, compassionate mentor and roll model, whose opinion was frequently sought. He worked tirelessly throughout his life but still had time and energy to spare for anyone who needed him. A devoted family man, he loved cycling and photography. Absorbing every moment with loved ones over great food and a glass of Apfelsaft Schorle, was an important core value of the closeness shared with his family. He supported and encouraged his loved ones, cheering them on in their hobbies and work, offering advice and ideas to help inspire them to grow. He took great joy in his grandsons, greeting them with a broad smile and eagerness to introduce them to something new in their world, and always ready with proud praise as he watched them learn.
He is survived by his wife, Heide G. Castleman, son Clifton Carl (Amy) Castleman, two grandchildren Flynn Lathan and Tobias Hunter Castleman, and nephew David (Sandy) Beyer. He was predeceased in death by his half-brother Richard H. Pollock and half-sister Isabel Beyer.
A service celebrating Will’s life will be held at 11:00 am on Saturday, March 18th at McLean Baptist Church, 1367 Chain Bridge Road, McLean, VA 22101. Interment Green Hill Cemetery, Berryville, VA on March 10th. Due to severe allergies, the family asks that any additional gesture of love and support be made through donations in his memory to the National Parkinson Foundation (Parkinson.org) in lieu of flowers.