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Monday, August 17, 2015

Passing the Torch: John Walkinshaw

John W. Walkinshaw, professor of Chemical Engineering & Paper Engineering at University of Massachusetts - Lowell, passed away August 11, 2015.

John was unmistakably recognizable with his mutton chop sideburns, well-worn brown boots, suspenders, and rolled up sleeves on his shirt - this signified he was ready for action.  However, the type of action John reveled in was either teaching a Chemical Engineering class at the Lowell, MA campus or discussing and debating the merits of different test methods for pulp, paper and board.

Prof. Walkinshaw's educational background was solid, as seen here:
ISO TC6 Meeting - Paris 2011
  B.S. Paper Engineering, Lowell Technological Institute, 1967
  M.S. Paper Engineering, Lowell Technological Institute, 1969
  M.S. Chemical Engineering, Lowell Technological Institute, 1970
  Ph.D. Victoria University of Manchester, England, 1978

He was a Professor and Program Coordinator for Paper Engineering. His research interests were in air flow measurement systems coupled with computers to characterize the smoothness and porosity of paper and paper board materials and non-woven materials; plus an interest in paper recycling.  This isn't the type of dinner-time conversation that brings flocks of followers and invitations to speak at university functions. However, this seemingly grumpy individual possessed a treasure trove of knowledge when it came to the history of testing methods and standards related to the Paper Industry. 

PATPAC Meeting - Campbell River, BC 2000
Once you were on his radar, he could easily explain the history of different tests, their inception, changes that occurred, and why these changes were made. He would also give you the unfiltered version of how these things evolved, whether motivated by geographic politics (Europe vs. North America) or sound technical considerations.

John was a tireless volunteer in this respect. He was involved in ISO, TAPPI, ASTM, PAPTAC and other standards organizations. He selflessly volunteered to review many standards when no one else would do so. He was a great asset in this regard including being Chairman of the U.S. TAG (Technical Advisory Group) to ISO TC 6 (pulp, paper and paperboard).

TAPPI Fellows Award 2013
Some of his students may not miss snarky remarks and tough tests, but those of us who worked with him over the years will miss so many of his eccentricities, funny comments, appreciation of a nice ale, technical prowess and sheer knowledge in the area of testing related to the Paper Industry.

Farewell, John Walkinshaw...you will be missed!

John Walkinshaw funeral arrangements