Keith Norman Slessor, BSc’60, PhD’64

Keith SlessorKeith Norman Slessor was born in Comox, BC, in 1938 and lost his battle with mantle cell lymphoma on July 18, 2012. After receiving his PhD, Keith spent two years of post-doctoral study in London, UK, and Stockholm before returning to Canada as a faculty member at the newly founded Simon Fraser University.

Keith’s 39-year career as a professor of chemistry at SFU was devoted to his twin passions of teaching and scientific research. He was recognized for excellence in both areas, being awarded the SFU Excellence in Teaching Award (1995) for having conveyed the principles of organic chemistry to thousands of SFU undergraduates. He also developed and taught Science and Its Impact on Society, a course about science for undergraduates in the social sciences and humanities. He, along with Mark Winston, was awarded The BC Science and Engineering Gold Medal in Natural Sciences (2003) for deciphering the biochemical communication mechanisms in honeybee colonies. Of the many awards he received, these were the two of which he was most proud. At the national level, Keith participated in several NSERC adjudication committees and in the development of new interdisciplinary programs. He gave unselfishly of his time to teaching, mentoring, research and community.

Keith was also an ardent fly fisherman, and he and his wife, Marie, spent decades pursuing Kamloops trout in the interior lakes of BC. In his retirement, he channelled his energy into fine woodworking and created many pieces that now grace homes, kitchens, and dinner tables around the world.

He leaves his wife of 52 years, Marie, BEd’62; son Mike, BASc’92 (Erin); son Graham (Tanya, BSc’02); daughter Karen Francis (Dani); and four grandchildren: Kai, Kobe, Nicole and Cameron.

“A passionate and productive life, alas too short.”