In Memoriam – 2022

Bruce Alden McFadden

Bruce was born in La Grande, Oregon, in 1930 to Eugene and Mary McFadden. Two years later he was joined by his younger brother Scott. Bruce loved school and spent his early years in LaGrande, Spokane, and Pasadena, CA. He graduated from John Muir High School. In 1952, Bruce graduated with a BA in chemistry with honors from Whitman College. In 1956, he earned his PhD in biochemistry from the University of California Los Angeles. He became an instructor and later a professor at Washington State University.

Bruce met his wife Roberta in 1956 via his brother Scott’s wife, Norma Comrade, and they were married in 1958. Bruce and Roberta welcomed their first son, Paul, in 1959, followed by David in 1962, and John in 1967.

In 1963, he received the National Institute of Health Research Career Development Award at WSU through 1969. In 1964 Bruce was the president of the Washington-Idaho Border Section of the American Chemical Society. In 1965 the American Association for Advancement of Science honored him as a Fellow.

In community service, Bruce presided as president of the Parent Teacher’s Association in Pullman in 1965. In 1977, Whitman College awarded an honorary doctor of science degree to Bruce for his substantial and sustained contribution to scientific knowledge and advancements in biochemistry.

Bruce married Jean Toms in 2000, following Roberta’s passing. Bruce and Jean enjoyed their time in Palm Springs and Pullman until she passed in 2018. Bruce trained approximately 30 successful doctoral candidates, as well as visiting postdoctoral biochemists, and ran a successful laboratory for 41 years at WSU. In the 1980’s, he chaired the biochemistry and biophysics departments at WSU. Bruce enjoyed hiking, traveling, and spending time with his family at their cabin on Priest Lake in the summers. He is survived by his three sons, Paul, David, and John; granddaughters, Meagan and Hannah; and grandsons, Dakota and Ian.

Published by Spokesman-Review on Jul. 17, 2022

John Philip Hunt

John Philip Hunt, 98, died Sunday, Aug. 29, 2021, in Pullman. John was born Feb. 2, 1923, in Ann Arbor, Mich., to John Augustus Hunt and Dora Amanda (Adam) Hunt. John’s family moved to a small farm northwest of Ann Arbor in 1924, the year his sister, Mary Jane, was born. Brother Robert H. Hunt followed in 1932. John attended a one-room school near home for eight grades, then junior high and high school in Ann Arbor. He earned a bachelor of science degree with honors in chemistry in 1944 at the University of Michigan. From 1944 to 1946, John worked on the Manhattan Project at Oak Ridge National Laboratory as a research chemist. He went on to earn a PhD in chemistry at the University of Chicago in 1950 and completed a postdoctoral fellowship at Chicago in 1951. John was one of 67 Oak Ridge scientists to sign a classified petition to President Truman in 1945 to demonstrate the power of the first nuclear bomb to the world, giving Japan the opportunity to reconsider surrender, before dropping the bomb over Japan.

In 1951, John was hired as an assistant professor of chemistry at Cornell University in Ithaca, NY, where he remained until 1955 when he began a 35-year career at Washington State University in Pullman, retiring as a full professor of chemistry and a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Throughout his career, John helped his graduate students and postdoctoral fellows find teaching and research positions of their own, and many of them remained in contact with him throughout his life. John enjoyed a variety of sports along with gardening, music, art, and reading. He recently recalled a doubles tennis match at the University of Chicago when he and his faculty adviser, Nobel laureate Henry Taube, took on the renowned physicists Enrico Fermi (also a Nobel laureate) and Leo Szilard. Unfortunately, the physicists were better players and won the match.

John married Marjorie Jean Lesher in 1952 and the couple were divorced in 1986. John is survived by three children: Alan John, of Suita-Shi, Japan; Phyllis Jean (David Lind), of Selah, Wash.; and Roberta Marie, of Ranchos de Taos, NM. John also leaves two grandchildren: Marie R. Ray, of Albuquerque, NM; and James L. Ray, of Littleton, Colo.

Published by Moscow-Pullman Daily News on Sep. 4, 2021

David A. Atkinson

David A. Atkinson, 57, passed away peacefully at his home in Richland, WA, on May 10, 2021 following a long, hard-fought battle with lymphoma.

Dave “Big Dog” was born in Carbondale, PA, on January 20, 1964, to Joyce (Rokavec) Atkinson and the late Alan Atkinson. He had two siblings, Diane (Atkinson) Yadlosky and Keith Atkinson.
A graduate of Forest City Regional High School, Dave furthered his education obtaining his BS in Material Science from Pennsylvania State University and his MS and PhD in Analytical Chemistry from Washington State University under the advisement of Professor Herb Hill.
On July 18, 1987, he married Marilyn Barnes in Union Dale, PA. They later had two children together; sons Cooper and Hunter.

Dave began his career in 1992 as a staff scientist at Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory (now INL) in Idaho Falls, ID, where he directed the Center for Ion Mobility Spectrometry and conducted work in direct chemical vapor distribution
mapping. In 2003, he joined PNNL (Pacific Northwest National Laboratory) in Richland, WA, as a senior research scientist focused on trace organic analytical chemistry research in support of the national security mission. In his nearly 30-year career, Dave is renowned by his colleagues, his sponsors, and his collaborators for being an internationally recognized expert in ion mobility spectrometry and explosives detection. He is the author or co-author of numerous publications, holds nine U.S. patents, and most recently achieved the status of Laboratory Fellow.

Dave’s achievements/accomplishments over the years are many, but he was a very humble soul and prefers to be remembered for the person he was and not the things he did. Dave’s loss is deeply felt by all who knew him; he will be missed immensely by all. Outside of work, Dave had passions for travel and was known for travelogue slideshows set to music of the region, cooking extravagant meals, mountain hiking, playing guitar, managing an online hockey league he founded, and mentoring local high school students with Science Fair Projects.
He is survived by his loving wife of almost 34 years, Marilyn Atkinson; two sons, Cooper Atkinson (Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD) and Hunter Atkinson at home; mother Joyce Atkinson (Browndale, PA); a sister Diane Yadlosky (Binghamton, NY); a brother Keith Atkinson and wife Danielle (Browndale, PA); and nieces, nephews, aunts, and uncles. Dave was preceded in death by his father, Alan Atkinson.

Published by Tribute Archive

Marianna Merritt Matteson, longtime supporter of Chem students, faculty

Marianna Merritt Matteson, who with her husband, Professor Emeritus of Chemistry Don Matteson, was a long-time supporter of students, faculty, and programs in the Chemistry department, passed away peacefully in Pullman on July 20 at 90 years old.

Marianna was a professor in the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures at WSU and had served as its chair for 10 years. After earning her master’s degree in Spanish in 1956 from then-Washington State College (now WSU), she taught in public schools in West Virginia and at the University of Idaho. In 1965, she joined the faculty at WSU and later completed her PhD in Spanish at the University of Washington–Seattle. Her foreign study experiences took her to Mexico numerous times, and to Colombia, SA, as a Fulbright Scholar.

She also traveled extensively throughout the world during her 51-year marriage to Don, and the couple delighted in experiencing different cultures and geographies on all seven continents. Their home, filled with music, art, books, and collectibles from around the globe, and their robust support of WSU and its educational mission reflect their many interests and generosity of spirit.

Marianna will be greatly missed by all whose lives she touched. To help facilitate student knowledge of anatomy and disease, Marianna donated her remains to WSU’s Elson F. Floyd College of Medicine in Spokane.

Gifts to support the Marianna Merritt and Donald S. Matteson Distinguished Professorship in Foreign Languages and Cultures can be made securely online at A celebration of her life is planned for October 22, 2022, at 4:00 p.m. at the Alumni Center on the Pullman campus. Light appetizers will be served. Please contact Greg Crouch at for more information.