John Norell

06/25/1937 — 10/10/2018

From Richland, WA | Born in Hutchinson, KS

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John Norell

 Dr. John R. Norell passed away peacefully at his home in Richland, Washington on October 10, 2018. He was 81 years old.

John was born in Hutchinson, Kansas on June 25, 1937 to Rev. Clifton and Cora (Reynolds) Norell. His father was a minister for the Nazarene church and his mother a registered nurse.

In 1950, John and his family moved to Newton, Kansas where he met Beverly Oliver. John and Beverly were high-school sweethearts and were happily married for 59 years until his passing. John and Beverly raised 2 children, Greg, of Prosser, Washington and Kristin, of Richland, Washington.

In 1959, John graduated from Bethany Nazarene College in Oklahoma with a major in chemistry and a minor in mathematics. He and Beverly were married the same year and moved to Lafayette, Indiana where John entered as a Ph.D. candidate for organic chemistry. He earned his Ph.D. with his thesis on sulphur in 1963. Beverly worked as a 4th grade teacher during this time.

Following Purdue, John was awarded a post-doctorate fellowship to study at the University of Munich, Germany. He and Beverly moved to Germany and resided there for a year. They traveled across Europe at every opportunity which instilled John’s continued passion for travel.

Following his education, John began his career as a bench chemist at Phillips Petroleum Company in Bartlesville, Oklahoma. John worked there for 30 years until his retirement at which time he was President of Provesta, a bio-technology subsidiary of Phillips. During his tenure, he obtained over 30 patents for Phillips, oversaw the work of 130 scientists conducting research for cancer treatment, vaccine development and genetic engineering and was listed as one of the top 200 executives of Phillips Petroleum. John was dedicated to his industry through professional organizations.  He was on the board of the International Biotechnology Association, President of the American Chemical Society, Corporate Associates of Washington, DC, author and contributor to multiple industry publications and served on local community and residential boards wherever he lived.

At his retirement in 1995, John and Beverly moved to Divide, Colorado where they could enjoy the mountains, wildlife and be closer to other family in the area. They resided here at 9000 feet until the elevation took the toll on John’s health. In December 2010, they moved to Richland, Washington. 

Throughout his life, John traveled to all continents and to 67 countries. He was curious about the people, cultures, science and history of every place he visited and continued to read of explorers and travelers when he, himself, could no longer do so. Paul Theroux, Stephen Ambrose and Walter Issacson were some of his favorite authors. 

John was a collector of stamps, coins, antique currency, books and relished his library of older encyclopedias and chemistry books as he had a continued quest for knowledge.

Above all, John loved his family and they were the center of his life. Beverly, was his best friend, and he cherished every moment with her and all the times he could spend with his children and grandchildren. 

John was preceded in death by his father, Clifton, and his mother, Cora. He is survived by his wife Beverly, his two children, Greg and Kristin, his two sisters, Martha and Mary, daughter-in-law Clydine and grand-daughters Kyla and Natalie.

A family memorial will be held at the home in late October. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in his honor to the Meadow Springs Presbyterian Church, 325 Silver Meadows Dr, Richland, Washington 99352, Phone: 509.627.4190. All donations will be applied towards a new organ for the church for which is wife is the organist. John loved music and loved hearing his wife, Beverly, play for him whenever possible. 

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