Charles F. “Chuck” Weick, professor of chemistry emeritus, was a dedicated teacher, researcher and mentor who began his Union career – and his marriage – when he met a nurse on a visit to the College infirmary. Prof. Weick passed away on March 21, 2021 at the age of 90.
He joined the faculty in 1958 while completing his Ph.D. in nuclear chemistry at the University of Rochester. He taught radiochemistry at Union for about 10 years, and then carved out a field in inorganic chemistry. His areas of research interest included radiochemistry, inorganic chemistry and gold complexes. He retired in 1996, completing a 38-year career at Union.
When Weick was working as a teaching assistant in graduate school, he knew that he wanted to teach. “My main goal was to teach,” he said when he retired. “And I suppose I've been lucky because I've been able to spend my days doing what I enjoy.”
One day, after he first arrived on campus, he stood up in his Butterfield office and hit his head. At the infirmary, he met a nurse who thought he was a student. Later on, he met Janet again at folk dancing lessons at the YWCA. They married, lived on campus for a year in Silliman Hall, and had two sons who graduated from Union, David in 1984 and Brian in 1986. Janet Weick also graduated from Union in 1986 with her bachelor’s degree in the arts. “When you think of a Union family, we’re pretty much it,” he said.
In 1978, when Janet Anderson, the Florence B. Sherwood Professor of Physical Sciences Emerita, was the first woman faculty member to join the chemistry department, Weick was among the faculty who made her feel at home. “I met with Chuck and [Prof.] Bob Schaeffer together when I interviewed, and they made me feel comfortable and relaxed, even after a long day,” she said. “Both of them, along with [Prof.] Howard Sheffer, invited me to play golf with them in the summer. We went out once a week in the early morning to many of the local courses, and they put up with my mediocre game. Chuck was a tennis player and an accomplished downhill skier, too.”
As a student at Union, Mary Carroll ’86, the Dwane W. Crichton Professor of Chemistry, knew Weick as “a very organized and engaging instructor.” She was also a lab partner with the professor’s son, Brian. When Carroll joined the chemistry faculty in 1992, Weick was a mentor. “Chuck’s office was the closest to mine of any colleague and I had many conversations with him about teaching,” she recalled. “Chuck was generous with both his time and his teaching materials. In particular, I found the macros he had written to check student calculations on Introductory Chemistry lab reports to be extremely useful. For years, Weick had donated his weekly copy of Chemical & Engineering News to Schaffer Library, a practice he asked Carroll to continue after he retired.
Weick received a National Science Foundation Science Faculty Fellowship, which allowed him to study inorganic complex reaction mechanisms at Northwestern University. He also spent a year working in bioinorganic chemistry at the University of Kent at Canterbury, England. He was secretary for six years of the regional branch of the American Chemical Society and was a member of Sigma Xi, the national science honor society.
He was also a member of the Union College Alumni Bowling Club, Faith United Methodist Church where he served on several committees, and the Buffalo Bills Marching Band.
A graveside service will be at Park View Cemetery in Schenectady at a later date. There are no calling hours. Arrangements are with Jones Funeral Home. To leave a condolence, visit www.jonesfh.net.