Walter M. H. Budde Jr.
Walter M. H. Budde Jr, PhD
Oct. 1, 1925 — Dec. 4, 2020
Walter Maurice Harold Budde, Jr. PhD succumbed to COVID–19 on Dec. 4, 2020, in Sarasota, Florida after a valiant battle.
Walter was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota to Helen and Walter Budde, Sr. and graduated from Cretin High School in St. Paul, Minnesota. He attended the University of Minnesota, earning a degree in organic chemistry. He earned his master’s degree in organic chemistry from the University of Indiana, where he met his future wife and lifelong companion, Jacqueline Hyberg Budde. The couple moved to Iowa City, where they were married on June 6, 1948. Walter obtained his PhD in organic chemistry as well as a minor in chemical engineering from the University of Iowa at age 23.
Walter and Jackie had five children: Jann Logsdon (Pete Rutledge) and Jann’s children, Michael (Victoria Adams) and Jessica Dozier (Ryan) and their son, Declan; Carl (Mari) and their daughters, Sonja (John Nelson), and their children Jayson, Scarlett, Jasmine, and Sierra; Sylvia (Matthew Korpela), and their children Phoebe Sue and Rogan Carl; and Shannon (Robert Washington); Fred (Linda) and their daughter Anna Budde (Michael Leininger) and their daughter Antonia; Mernie (Jodi) and their children Derek (Molly), their children Henry, Vivian, and Charlie; Amanda, and Amy Budde; and Edward (Gina) and their children Sarah Budde Rodriguez (Michael), Katrina Zwack (Tyler), and John Budde. Walter is survived by his sister, Helen Weides. He was predeceased by Jacqueline; their son, Carl; his parents, Walter Sr. and Helen; and sister, Mildred Speeter.
Walter was a professor of organic chemistry at Loyola University Chicago before joining Archer Daniels Midland (ADM), eventually becoming the director of research and development. Rather than move to Ohio when ADM sold off their chemical division, he moved on to Burlington Industries near Greensboro, North Carolina, focusing on self-extinguishing fibers (coincidentally, his son Fred’s first assignment in 1979 as a new chemical engineer was the self-extinguishing fiber polymer manufacturing line at Monsanto). Walter’s stay at Burlington lasted only one year, as he and two fellow former ADM employees founded Viking Chemical Company in Blooming Prairie, Minnesota in 1969. He served as its vice president and technical director and later president until his retirement in 1986.
Walter was world-renowned in peroxygen chemistry, especially the formation of peroxyacids and their use for the synthesis of epoxides. He had 10 composition of matter and process patents in this field, leading to products such as IV bags, food wrap, synthetic sandalwood oil, functional fluid stabilizers and many adhesives and coatings. Chances are you use something in your daily life that can be traced back to a patent that Walter held.
His greatest joys were listening to classical music, reading, gardening, playing baseball, softball and tennis with his children, and later watching the Minnesota Twins and the Tampa Bay Rays. Walter owned two farms, including 203 acres on the Mississippi River outside of Bemidji, Minnesota because he believed his children would benefit from being raised in a more rural setting. Improving his mathematics skills was a lifetime pursuit. He especially liked challenging himself by revisiting his algebra, trigonometry and calculus textbooks, especially when his sons were pursuing their engineering degrees.
After retiring, he was able to immerse himself in his love for classical music by returning to playing the violin and viola. He played with orchestras in Austin and Bemidji, Minnesota and Sebring, Florida. He acquired a valuable collection of stringed instruments. Three of note were a Stradivarius violin (The Lark), a Goffriller cello and a Guarneri viola. Most of the instruments in his collection were loaned out to various young musicians who considered playing these instruments critical to the development of their careers.
Space does not allow us to list all the unique aspects and qualities that made Walter the person we loved. As soon as we felt like we knew him and all his many facets he would come up with something new and remarkable based on his near photographic memory. Most conversations with him ended with us shaking our heads in wonderment. We are blessed to have been able to call him our father and that he shared his scientific achievements with the world.
A memorial service and celebration of life will be held in Minneapolis when it is safe to do so. His cremains will be interred at Resurrection Cemetery in Mendota Heights, Minnesota. The family requests that donations be made to a local classical music organization or the classical music department of a college or university in Walter’s name.
Several caretakers provided skilled and loving care to Jackie and Walter over the years in both Minnesota and Florida. They include Rick, Dawn, Sonja and Katelyn in Bemidji, and Jean, Marilyn, Judy and Justo in Florida.
Finally, as Walter was clearly a science believer and unfortunately a victim of the insidious and deadly COVID-19 virus, his family implores everyone to honor Walter’s memory by masking up, distancing and hand washing — the lives of others are depending on you.