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Dr. Kay Brower, 1928 - 2014

SOCORRO, N.M. January 8, 2014 – Kay Robert Brower, 85, a longtime resident of Socorro, died on Saturday, January 4, 2014, after battling COPD for many years.

Dr. Brower served as a chemistry professor at New Mexico Tech for 40 years. Dr. Brower received the Distinguished Researcher Award at Tech in 1991.

Dr. Michael Heagy, professor of chemistry, said, “Kay was a brilliant physical organic chemist who carried out some highly thought-provoking experiments by combining explosives/shock waves with organic chemistry.  In many respects he was perfectly suited for New Mexico Tech’s expertise in explosives and energetic materials research.”

One of his last publications in the Journal of Physical Chemistry was “Reactions of Organic Compounds in Explosive-Driven Shock Waves.” One of his earlier publications in the Journal of the American Chemical Society involved collaboration with the great William J. le Noble where they explored pressure and volume effects on aromatization of organic molecules.

“His breadth and scope of chemistry cast a wide net, as Kay was one of the very chemists who published easily in organic, inorganic and physical chemistry journals – a truly noteworthy accomplishment,” Heagy said. “I've occupied his office for 17 years since I started at New Mexico Tech. When I arrived, I knew that there were some very big shoes to fill given his outstanding research record.”

He was born in Altus, Okla., on June 7, 1928. He spent most of his childhood in Hutchinson, Kan. In 1945, he won a Pepsi-Cola Scholarship and enrolled at MIT. In 1947 he met Elise Edfors, a student at Simmons College, whom he married in 1948. They had two daughters, Karen Brower Darnall, born in 1951, and Candace Brower, born in 1953.

In 1956 the Brower family moved to Socorro, where Kay served as a chemistry professor at New Mexico Tech for 40 years. Kay was preceded in death by his parents, Frank and Virginia Brower, and his three siblings, Judy Ward, Mary Lou Saloga, and Philip Brower.

He is survived by his wife and daughters, as well as three grandchildren, Natasha Darnall, Nicole Scurrah, and Matthew Wood, and four great-grandchildren. A memorial service will be held on July 4 to celebrate Kay’s life and his scientific love of high-pressure kinetics (explosives). To view information or leave a condolence, please visit www.danielsfuneral.com. Kay's care has been entrusted to Daniels Family Funeral Services, 309 Garfield St., Socorro, NM 87801, 575-835-1530

-- NMT --