Thomas Theodore Bopp

Posted On July 7th, 2013 -

THOMAS THEODORE BOPP Thomas Theodore Bopp, 71, of Kailua passed away peacefully at home on June 15, 2013 after a brief illness, with loving family members around him. Born in Glendale, California on November 29, 1941, he was the son of the late Rev. Clarence and Mildred Bopp. He married Judith Creamer in 1962 and they had two sons, William and Christopher. Tom married a high school classmate, Georgia Kinney, in 1973. She had three children, Galatea, Jayne and Jon. Tom was Professor of Chemistry Emeritus and former Department Chairman at the University of Hawai’i at Manoa, where he was on the faculty since 1967. He was a graduate of Bishop (California) High School (1959), the California Institute of Technology (B.S., 1963), and Harvard University (Ph.D., 1967). At Caltech, Tom was a starter on the basketball teams which won 30% of their games (remarkable by modern Caltech standards), and sang in the Caltech Glee Club, which performed at the Squaw Valley (CA) Winter Olympics in 1960. At both Harvard and later Stanford he studied under Professor John D. Baldeschwieler, a pioneer in nuclear magnetic resonance, which was the subject of Tom’s Ph.D. thesis. At the University of Hawai’i at Manoa, Tom was a Professor of Chemistry, Chairman of the Department, and for several years was Assistant Vice President for Academic Affairs. Teaching, however, was his primary professional passion. In 1986, Tom received the University of Hawai’i’s newly-established award for Excellence in Teaching at the Manoa campus. His work was also recognized in student evaluations which were often right on target (“very excited about chemistry, which makes it all the more interesting” and “if you pay attention, he is actually pretty funny”) as well as complimentary (“excellent teacher, nice, helpful, and he can sing”). And Tom did love to sing, not only on occasion in class, but for the O’ahu Choral Society, where he was an avid member and a section leader. Near the end of his life, when Tom was too ill to complete a choir rehearsal, he was remembered for “quietly exitingnot focusing on himselfcareful not to disturb the preparation for the concert.” While his beautiful singing could make you glad to be alive, Tom was equally willing to tell you precisely how you got here, as another passionate interest was genealogy. He was former President and an active member of the Honolulu County Genealogical Society and a pioneer member of the International Society of Genetic Genealogy. Although Tom loved his roles teaching and participating in his community, the role he esteemed most highly was as a loving family man-husband to his beloved wife and best friend of 40 years, Georgia Kinney Bopp, father and grandfather. His family is heart-broken by the loss of his loving and nurturing presence. Tom was preceded in death by his son, William. He is survived by his wife, Georgia; daughter Galatea DeLapp, daughter and son-in-law P. Jayne Bopp and Aaron Whyne, son and daughter-in-law Christopher and Tammy, and son Jon; brothers William and James, sisters Barbara Wille, Mary Harding, and Deborah; and grandchildren John DeLapp, Brendon DeLapp, Alexander Bopp-Whyne, and Nelson. We are thankful for the gift of Tom in our lives, for his kindness, generosity, grace, humility, humor and intellect. Memorial contributions may be sent to the O’ahu Choral Society, 4348 Wai’alae Ave. No. 214, Honolulu, HI 96816.

- Denotes U.S. Military Veteran