Associate Professor John Chateauneuf died on Friday June 17, 2011, at Bronson Hospital in Kalamazoo of complications from a stroke. He was 54 years old. Born in Lynn, Massachusetts on April 19, 1957, he was the son of Edward and Blanche Chateauneuf. Dr. Chateauneuf received a BS in Chemistry in 1981 from Salem State College, Salem, Massachusetts and a PhD. in 1986 from Tufts University, Boston, Massachusetts. His dissertation addressed "The Characterization and Absolute Kinetics of Arylcarbenes by Laser Flash Photolysis Techniques". Prior to joining the faculty of WMU in 1996, Dr. Chateauneuf was on the faculty at the University of Notre Dame from 8/90 to 8/96. He was Head of the Organic Photochemical Processes Section in the Radiation Laboratory, a Department of Energy National Laboratory, from 1991 to 1995.
At WMU, Chateauneuf taught organic chemistry and worked with both undergraduate and graduates students on research projects in his laboratory. He was an expert in spectroscopic mechanistic studies of reaction intermediates, free radicals and radical ions, solvation effects and solvation dynamics on chemical reactions in supercritical fluids. Over the course of his career he contributed more than fifty peer-reviewed publications to the chemical literature. Training of environmental chemists has been a major emphasis in the WMU chemistry doctoral program, and Dr. Chateauneuf was a pioneer in green chemistry in supercritical fluid media, investigating microwave-induced reactions and the microbial degradation of ionic liquids, which have significant industrial value as replacements for chlorinated solvents.
Chateauneuf is survived by his parents, Edward and Blanche Chateauneuf of Swampscott, MA, and a sister, Annmarie (Tony) Dragani of Swampscott, MA. Private services and burial will be held in Massachusetts. There will be no visitation. The chemistry department is collecting contributions toward a memorial on the large periodic table mural in the WMU Chemistry Building. Contributions can be made through the department's website. Please contact Prof. Don Schreiber at for more information.