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Saturday February 3, 2018


Professor Emeritas of
Chemistry, McMaster
University. On Sunday,
January 28, 2018 in his 95th
year Richard died peacefully
at St. Joseph's Hospital in
Hamilton Ontario after a brief
illness.Born in Montreal on
August 2, 1923 he was the
youngest son of George
Herbert Tomlinson and Anne
Irene Nourse Tomlinson. He
was predeceased by his
siblings, Anne Elinor Nourse
Chapman (Jack), Ruth
Tomlinson Wilson, George
Herbert TomlInson II
(Frances), and Charles Lester
Tomlinson (Patricia). He was
also predeceased by his wife,
Rowena. Richard is survived
by his nieces and nephews,
Sally Anne Chapman Webster
(Alan), Peter George
Tomlinson, David Lester
Tomlinson (Alison), Susan
Margaret Tomlinson Gohn),
Wendy Margaret Tomlinson,
Loretta Anne Tomlinson Kent
(Punch); and many great-
nieces and nephews and their
   Richard attended Selwyn
House School, BCS and
graduated from Bishops
University following which he
attended McGill where he
completed his PhD in 1948.
He was the last graduate
student of famed chemist and
McGill professor Otto Maas for
whom he had worked in
Ottawa at the National
Research Council during the
war years. In 1948, Richard
and his wife, Rowena
departed for England where
he had secured a post
doctoral fellowship at
Cambridge University.
Following his return to
Canada, he was recruited by
the visionary nuclear scientist
Harry Thode, and he began
his long career at McMaster
University. Richard and Harry
became lifelong colleagues,
friends and business partners
and shared similar values and
philosophies. Aside from
teaching, Richard's research
focused on the application of
radioisotopes as diagnostic
tools as well as for medical
treatments. In large part, his
work in radioactive
pharmaceuticals provided the
necessary funding to maintain
the University Reactor and so
continue valuable training in
all fields of science,
engineering, industry and
   Richard received Honorary
degrees from Bishop's
University (the third member
of the Tomlinson family to be
so honored), McGill
University, McMaster and
Brock University. For his
generous contributions to all
these institutions, and his
commitment to excellence in
higher education, he became
an Officer of the Order of
Canada in 2004. Richard
appreciated good food and
wines, sports, most especially
golf and swimming in his
pool. At 50, he took up
running, eventually
participating in several Boston
Marathons. He challenged
himself physically and
intellectually, and in that
regard he expected no less
from his students. He was
devoted to Ashleigh, the last
of a multitude of cats, which
included Yttrium, the
president of his company
Gennum. Richard was a kind-
hearted, humble and
generous man in possession
of a wry sense of humor. He
believed in people, (some
would say naively), and did
many good things
anonymously simply because
he could.
   Richard leaves behind his dear
friend of over 60 years,
Renate Fritze; former
colleague and friend, Peter
Simpson; Suzanne Wysmyk,
who has been a rock,
neighbour, fellow runner,
housekeeper and golfing
partner; fellow runner and
good friend, Cesare Ruggiero;
and good friend, Bernard
Garneau. All were inspired by
his determination, curiosity,
his infinite patience and his
ability to explain complex
scientific theories, latterly as
they related to carbon dioxide
and global warming. (Richard
was never convinced of this
causal effect based on his 75
years of accumulated
scientific knowledge). Also
left behind, his niece, Anne,
who loved him dearly.
   Thanks to the nurses at the
Sister Mary Grace Wing 6th
floor, and thanks go also to
the nurses on the 6th floor of
the Juravinski Tower and
most particularly to Dr Anne
Wood and France Clarke for
their compassionate care.
   At Richard's request, there
will be no service and family
and friends will gather
privately in the summer. In
Richard's memory, please
perform a random act of
kindness and/or adopt a cat.

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