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Jane Shell Raymond ’59

December 16, 2018, in Panorama City, California, from septic shock.

Born in Portland, Oregon, to Stanley Shell and Katharine Galbraith Shell, Jane spent her early years in Wallowa in eastern Oregon. After losing her mother at age 6, Jane moved to Portland and lived under the care of her grandmother and her maternal aunt, Helen. She spent some vacations with her father (who suffered recurrent illnesses due to injuries sustained in World War I). Aunt Helen taught grammar school and encouraged Jane intellectually. When her grandmother passed away during her senior year of high school, Jane wished to continue living with her aunt.

She was drawn to the academic climate at Reed, where she flourished and made many close friends. An accomplished violinist and pianist, Jane enjoyed being part of the active campus music community. Prof. Lloyd Reynolds [English & art 1929–69] inspired her with his calligraphy, and Prof. Arthur F. Scott [chemistry 1923–79] was a large influence, fostering her love of lab work. Jane wrote two theses: a chemistry thesis, “A Determination of the Ratio of Ag:C by the Synthesis and Analysis of Silver Trifluoroacetate,” and a math thesis, “Boolean Algebra,” written with Prof. Lloyd Williams [math 1947–81] advising. Jane loved solving puzzles, and math studies appealed to that drive.

Feeling that a degree in chemistry would lead to more career options, Jane went on to MIT and earned an organic chemistry PhD in 1962. She was one of few women in the department and was disappointed that women were not allowed to act as teaching assistants at that time. Jane returned to Reed in the fall of 1962 and taught in both the chemistry and math departments. Happy to be back at Reed, she enjoyed mentoring students, including chemistry major Arlene Blum ’66, who became a lifelong friend, mountain climber, and environmental health scientist. In 1965, Jane married Kenneth Raymond ’64 and moved to Chicago, where she taught chemistry at the University of Chicago and coauthored the second edition of Principles of Physical Science with Melba Phillips and Francis T. Bonner.

After her divorce, Jane was briefly a visiting lecturer at UC Berkeley before joining the faculty of Caltech in 1977. Shortly after her arrival, she redesigned not only the undergraduate chemistry laboratory curriculum but also the laboratory space, working closely with the architect. Highly regarded by her Caltech students and colleagues, she received an Associated Students of Caltech award for excellence in teaching in 1990. She was a devoted mother who carefully balanced her professional and family duties. She retired in 2009 due to health problems related to multiple sclerosis and passed away in December 2018 after a long decline. She is survived by her daughter, Mary Katherine Raymond Johansson ’91, and son, Alan Raymond. The Dr. Jane Galbraith Shell Raymond Student Research Fund will provide annual grants to students in chemistry at Reed. Donations may be added to the fund. —Contributed by Mary Katherine Raymond Johansson ’91

Appeared in Reed magazine: June 2019

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