George Donald Blyholder January 10, 1931 ~ February 24, 2013

George Donald Blyholder 82 of Fayetteville, died February 24, 2013 of natural causes.  He was born January 10, 1931 in Elizabeth, New Jersey the son of Orlando and Lucy Ramsey Blyholder. He grew up in Kansas City, Kansas and Chicago, Illinois.  He received a BA from Valparaiso University, a BS from Purdue University in chemical engineering and a PhD in chemistry from the University of Utah.  While at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, he met and married Betty Sue Conrod.  After graduation, he did post doctoral work at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland.  They moved to Fayetteville in 1959 when George took a position as a professor of Chemistry at the University of Arkansas. He taught and did research at the university for thirty-seven years until his retirement in 1996, publishing over 100 articles in noted scientific journals.  He enjoyed an international reputation in surface science for having described a mechanism of action for the reaction between carbon monoxide and metal atoms on a metal surface.  This method has often been sighted in surface chemistry literature and is the currently accepted model to explain these reactions. He was preceded in death by both his parents and one brother, Robert Dean Blyholder of Chicago, Illinois.  Survivors include his wife of 57 years, Betty Sue Conrod; one sister, Mary Pauline Munck of Johnston, Iowa; two daughters, Sylvia Jean Ballerstein of Phelps, New York and Victoria Elizabeth Bridges of Fort Collins, Colorado; one son, Andrew George Blyholder of Richmond, California; three grandchildren, Amber Woodard of Maitland, Florida, Emma Bridges and Gregory Bridges of Fort Collins, Colorado; two great grandchildren, Ashley Woodard and Evan Woodard both of Maitland, Florida and many other family members and friends.A memorial gathering will be held at the Hog Haus Brewery Company, 430 W. Dickson Street, Fayetteville, on Thursday, February 28, 2013, at 2 pm.  All are welcome to join the family in a celebration of his life. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Department of Chemistry at the University of Arkansas.Cremation arrangements are under the direction of Beard’s Funeral Chapel.

Online condolences may be made to the family at www.beardsfuneralchapel.com.



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Condolences (3)

    Gene Fry » 28. Feb, 2013

    Betty, Sylvia and All,
    My condolences on George’s death. The positive side is that he is no longer lingering half-alive after the stroke. He had a long life and fine career, but I remember baby-sitting for Sylvia and Andy.
    I was glad to get to talk to you Betty, shortly after my father died, in September 2011. And my best wishes to you Betty, after your recent fall.
    Sylvia, would you like me to try to visit you in Phelps? I went to Ithaca, Rochester, Syracuse, Buffalo and Bath last August. It looks like I will be returning to Ithaca March 22-23 this year.

    Dale and Evelyn Johnson » 02. Mar, 2013

    Remembering George Blyholder
    You can measure a person by the things large and small that they loved. For George, Family came first always and you could tell the pride he took the their accomplishments, always making clear that he took no credit for any of their efforts. Next came Friends, which were many and spread around the globe. The University of Arkansas affiliation on a name tag was sure to elicit in inquiry about George and his activities from someone at any scientific meeting.
    George took great pleasure in his professional work, in the lab, classroom and even in administrative tasks. He was generous with his time, particularly with students or new faculty members.
    He loved P. G. Wodehouse and Dr. Who, but didn’t like violence in movies or books. He was good with his hands. He repaired his cars (when that was still possible), did many carpentry and cabinetry projects around the home, building display and media shelves and even took out half a wall took to hang the largest gong in his collection. He often demonstrated his gong proficiency for visiting seminar speakers and “gonged” in the New Year. He built all the vacuum lines for his research and was probably the second best glassblower on campus (he certainly was easier to deal with than the prima donna that ran the glass shop in the 1960’s).
    He liked boats and was an avid canoeist. He liked to fish and was a pretty fair tennis player. Lots of family vacations were organized around camping and outdoor activities. He liked automobiles and one of his favorite photos was taken when he was in the right-hand seat with Andy a sports car rally in California.
    He liked hot air balloons and all types of aircraft, just not flying in them. I once asked if his dislike of flying was inconsistent with a love of aircraft and he asked if I understood the meaning of the words “heavier than air”.
    George liked food and eating in local restaurants, mostly those without corporate websites, usually with simple names like Hugo’s or Bogie’s or the Rolling Pin. He never met a pastry that he didn’t like. He once told me didn’t much like coffee, but he “belonged” to a large number of informal coffee drinking groups. He went for the conversation and companionship.

    We will all miss him, but will be grateful that we didn’t miss the chance to know him.

    Liz Williams » 04. Mar, 2013

    Oh the fun memories I have of Dr Bly. I was fortunate that my office was near his because that meant we got to chat about and compare our repeated trips to Orlando. He’d bring me Disney souvenirs if I hadn’t gone for a while. For many years he personally delivered a cookie to my office every time there was a seminar reception. Once he returned from a trip and told me that he’d bought chocolate for me, but he got hungry on the plane and ate it. Guess you had to hear him say it, because I still laugh remembering it. He was one-of-a-kind and I miss getting to chat w/ him.