T.W. Graham Solomons, Professor Emeritus, died at his family home in McClellanville, SC on Oct. 2, 2021. He was 87. Graham had a distinguished career as an Organic Chemistry Professor at the University of South Florida and as the author of an organic chemistry textbook, which with the help of two co-authors, is now in its 13th edition. Used at universities all over the world, his book has been translated into 8 languages. Born on August 30, 1934 in Charleston, SC, Graham was the elder of two sons born to Aletha Graham Solomons of McClellanville, SC and John Allen Solomons of Estill, SC. He had happy memories as a child in the idyllic fishing village of McClellanville, swimming and messing around in rowboats on Jeremy Creek; his mother’s only admonition was to stay out of the pluff mud. As the oldest grandchild of T.W.Graham and Jennie Morrison, Graham soon found himself working after school and weekends for one or another of his uncles, in the drug, grocery, and hardware stores on Pinckney Street. Always known to be highly intelligent, Graham skipped his senior year at the McClellanville School and went to The Citadel Military College in Charleston in 1951. It was there that his love for chemistry won out over a passion for physics, thanks to his chemistry professor Col. Duckett, who had a profound impact on his future. Graham was First Honor Graduate in the Citadel Class of 1955 graduating with a BS in Chemistry. He went on to Duke University, where he studied under Dr. C.K. Bradsher, an outstanding organic chemist and fine mentor. Graham received his Ph.D. in 1959 and was awarded a Sloan Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship at Rochester University, where he studied under another distinguished organic chemist, V. Boekelheide. At the end of his postdoctoral year, he passed up an offer from Harvard for an opportunity at a university in Tampa, Florida that was still under construction. Graham was inspired by the idea of teaching at a brand new university and breathing life into the chemistry department of the University of South Florida. When USF opened its doors to students in the fall of 1960, Graham was one of three Charter faculty members in the Chemistry Department. In January 1961, Graham was the recipient of the first Research Grant awarded to a USF faculty member; the first of many achievements and honors during his thirty-year career as a professor. He was active in all parts of university life: from a role on the Board of Directors for the University Chapel Fellowship to serving as President of the USF chapters of both the AAUP and AFT. Later in 1961, his work at USF was interrupted when Graham served for 13 months as an officer in the United States Army, entering as a first lieutenant and completing his service as a captain. He served initially in the US Army Air Defense Command at Fort Tilden, Brooklyn NY, and then the US Army Chemical Corps. Graham’s love of teaching was matched by his passion for the causes he believed in, including academic freedom, civil rights, and the anti-Vietnam War movement. His involvement in the latter led him to become the Chairman of the Eugene McCarthy for President Campaign in Tampa in 1968. Two years later he was selected, as one of two people from the state of Florida, to attend the Conference on the Indochina War held in Paris, France, representing a Quaker group, the American Friends Service Committee. On his return, Graham spent many hours in church halls and civic meetings recounting what he had learned during his meetings with the parties at the Paris Peace Talks, in the hope of educating more Americans on the history of the Vietnam War and the possibilities for peace. Known for his excellence in teaching organic chemistry, in the early 1970s, Graham was asked by two publishers to consider writing an undergraduate-level textbook. In 1972, he signed a contract with John Wiley and Sons, N.Y., and in 1976, the 1st edition of Organic Chemistry by T.W.Graham Solomons was published. The book changed the way the subject was taught and became one of the leading organic textbooks worldwide in the following decades. Graham remained a Wiley author for 49 years. While writing the book, Graham spent a sabbatical year at the University of Sussex. That experience fostered in Graham and his wife, Judith, a great affection for the beautiful countryside of Sussex and led them to buy a timber-framed farmhouse three years later. Graham and Judith spent the next forty-five years designing, planting, and maintaining a beautiful garden surrounding their home. In addition to his passion for teaching, writing, and gardening, Graham enjoyed camping and traveling in Europe, playing tennis, walking the footpaths of Sussex, hiking in the mountains of the Dolomites, sailing in the waters off Brittany, and attending operas, classical music concerts, and the theater. But Graham’s greatest love and devotion was to his beloved family. He is predeceased by his parents, his brother, John Allen Solomons, Jr., and his son, John Allen Solomons III. He is survived by his wife of 52 years, Judith Taylor Solomons, daughter, Eugenie Solomons Schillig, son, James Taylor Graham Solomons, grandson, Corwin Guido Schillig, granddaughter, Ella Eve Solomons, daughter-in-law, Annabel Eve Solomons and a multitude of cousins, other family members and friends who loved him dearly. A memorial/celebration of life service for Graham will be held at the United Methodist Church of McClellanville at 2 p.m. on Saturday April 2, 2022. A reception following the service will be held under the McClellanville Town Hall, Pinckney Street at the Robert Ashley Boat Landing. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Lutheran Hospice, Mount Pleasant, 1885 Rifle Range Road, Mount Pleasant, SC 29464. The family would like to thank Paula Mellichamp, Director, all of the people associated with Lutheran Hospice, and others who cared so lovingly for Graham in his last ten months. We would like to give special thanks to Debra Vanderhorst, and Chinette Cattle who cared for Graham as though he were their own family member.
Posted in: Post and Courier
Posted on: 2022-03-21
Link to original obituary: https://obits.postandcourier.com/us/obituaries/charleston/name/t-w-solomons-obituary?id=33720180