Robert LeRoy

Obituary of Robert LeRoy

Professor Robert James Le Roy passed away peacefully at home surrounded by his family on Friday August 10, 2018. Bob was 74 years old, a survivor of several bouts of cancer and heart disease that tested his body but never compromised his commitment to life and loved ones.


As one of Canada’s leading chemists, he will be remembered for his great intellect, passion and the indomitable spirit that has left a lasting mark on his beloved family and on his chosen field of science. Bob is survived by his loving and devoted wife of 51 years Virginia (nee Pusvaskis); son Xander; daughters Monika, Clara and Sylvia (Anthony); adoring grandsons Nathaniel, Luke and Jack; brothers John (Cathy) and Rodney (Peggy); sister-in-law Susan (Alex - deceased); and many loving nieces and nephews.


Born on September 30, 1943 in Ottawa, Ontario to Dr. Donald James Le Roy and Lillice (nee Read), Bob grew up in Toronto. His childhood was punctuated by summers and holidays at the family tree farm near Wilberforce, Ontario, which evolved into the epicentre of a rich multi-generational family life.


Following in his father’s footsteps, he developed an early passion for chemistry. He attended the University of Toronto where he received his B.SC (1965) and M.Sc.(1967), and where he met and fell in love with his beautiful bride Virginia while singing in the UofT Chorus. Bob received his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin in Madison before beginning an illustrious career in the University of Waterloo Department of Chemistry in 1972.


Internationally renowned and widely published in the field of molecular spectroscopy, he had an enormous impact upon the determination of interatomic and intermolecular forces.  Amongst his many scientific awards and recognitions, he received the Rutherford Memorial Medal in Chemistry by the Royal Society of Canada (1984), and the J. Heyrovsky Honorary Medal for Merit in the Chemical Sciences by the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic (1995).


Friend, mentor and admired collaborator of countless students and colleagues at the University of Waterloo and around the world, he played a pivotal role in the careers of many young scientists. Bob remained active in research and student advisory roles at UW until the final months of his life.


While the joy and passion he channeled into his science was impressive, his greatest love and accomplishment was his family. He loved to dance and was known for his bold sartorial taste. Bob was adored for his mischievous humour, relentless positivity and industriousness that will continue to inspire.


A celebration of Bob's life will be held for family, friends, and colleagues on October 13, 2018 at the University of Waterloo, where a special scholarship has been established in his memory. 

Donations to this scholarship may be made directly through the university website. 

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