September/October 2017 – Vol. 30 No. 1

In Memoriam . . .

Posted: Friday, October 1st, 2010

Robert Rice
Robert Rice
1911-2010

CSTA Bids Farewell to One of its Heroes

Robert Rice, one of the founders of CSTA, died Sunday evening, August 29, 2010.  He was 99 years old.

Bob, along with Margaret Nicholson and others, started the Northern California section of CSTA in 1970, which eventually evolved into the statewide organization we know today.  He served as president of the association from 1951-1952, and was the association’s first executive director, serving in that position from his office at Lawrence Hall of Science from 1974 to 1985.

Bob was actively involved in science education, notably the San Francisco Bay Area Science Fair and the Northern California Western Nevada Junior Science and Humanities Symposium (both of which he co-founded) until very recently and was on the team that designed Lawrence Hall of Science.  He was president of the National Science Teachers Association in 1960-61, and in 1986 was a recipient of the NSTA Distinguished Service to Science Education Award.  Bob was also the first recipient of the CSTA Margaret Nicholson Distinguished Service Award, in 1981.

Bob taught at Berkeley High School for 34 years, where he had future UC President David Pierpont Gardner in his class.  Dick Merrill, a longtime friend of Bob’s, recalls, “He loved to tell about how Gardner failed miserably at identifying unknowns in chemistry class.  He almost got a ‘D’ in chemistry, which would have had serious consequences for university eligibility.  Finally it was revealed that Gardner was colorblind, a serious handicap in doing ‘wet chemistry’ analysis.  They worked something out so that Gardner got a ‘C’ and was able to continue his academic education.”

Bob served in the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War II, teaching meteorology to prospective pilots and airmen.

Quoting from the memorial service program, “Bob’s dedication to youth and science education lasted throughout his lifetime.  His legacy will last in the lives and successes of all those who were privileged to participate in the programs he provided for them.”

Says Dick Merrill, “Bob was my friend and mentor for 48 years.”

All of CSTA mourns the passing of this great leader and wishes Bob’s family well.

Written by California Science Teachers Association

California Science Teachers Association

CSTA represents science educators statewide—in every science discipline at every grade level, Kindergarten through University.

One Response

  1. I remember well when we gathered at Margaret’s home in Jenner to think about the possibility of forming a state wide science association. I was always impressed by Bob’s wisdom and deep concern for students. I was extremely fortunate to have both Bob and Margaret as mentors in my early years of teaching, I miss them both.

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