Honored and beloved scientist Dr. Roy W.H. Tess's passion for his field didn't end with his death in 1999. Gifts from Dr. Tess and his wife, Marjorie, continue to fund the annual Roy W.H. Tess Coatings Award, given by the American Chemical Society to encourage interest and recognize contributions in coatings. This is the 22nd year of the award established by Dr. Tess and supported through his trust. Dr. Tess was senior editor of the second edition of the book Applied Polymer Science, which is still used in classrooms today. "He had a great interest and took a great deal of pleasure from science," Mrs. Tess says.
Mrs. Tess followed in her husband's footsteps when, after his death, she made a bequest in his name to ACS, continuing support of the award. "I knew how much it meant to him," she says.
Mrs. Tess says her husband, who was born in 1915, first discovered his passion for science while he was a student at the University of Illinois. He received the highest honors when he graduated in 1939 with a bachelor's degree in chemistry. From there, he went to the University of Minnesota, where he met his future wife at a school dance. He received his doctorate in organic chemistry in 1944, the same year they were married.
Notable highlights from his career include his work as a research supervisor with the Shell Development Company, which took him and his family to Amsterdam in 1962-63. He retired from the Shell Chemical Company in Houston in 1979 as a consultant, the highest technical level at that time.
After he retired Dr. and Mrs. Tess moved to Southern California in 1981 and built their dream home, which was carefully planned by Dr. Tess. "If he hadn't been a chemist, he might have been an architect," Mrs. Tess says.
Their home was enhanced by Dr. Tess's passion for camellias, which soon bloomed all over the grounds. After his death, Mrs. Tess donated the flowers to the San Diego Camellia Society, which gives an annual camellia award in Dr. Tess's name.
In 1993, Dr. Tess was named by ACS the first recipient of the Polymeric Materials, Science and Engineering Distinguished Service Award.
Through naming ACS as a remainder beneficiary in their irrevocable trust, the Tesses have helped support the future of chemistry. The Tesses' generosity and the support from donors like them are essential to developing the next generation of scientific talent.