Wilmer Stratton

Stratton—Wilmer Stratton, 85, on March 14, 2018, at Kendal at Lexington in Lexington, Va. Wil was born on June 4, 1932, in Newark, N.J., to Edith Pickett and Arthur Stratton and grew up in West Orange, N.J. A birthright member of Montclair Meeting in Upper Montclair, N.J.; an Eagle Scout; and an active member of Young Friends (YF), he graduated from Olney Friends School in 1950 and from Earlham College in 1954, receiving a doctorate in chemistry from Ohio State University in 1958.

He married Becky Henderson (Earlham ’55) in 1955, and three years later he and Becky and other YF invited young adult Russians to visit the United States—one of the first non-governmental visits of Russians since the start of the Cold War. He taught chemistry and environmental science at Earlham College beginning in 1959 and collaborated with environmental scientists at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, focusing on mercury in the atmosphere. He coauthored the innovative chemistry textbook Chemistry in Context: Applying Chemistry to Society, which went to four editions. He was on the faculty team that developed the Peace and Global Studies program at Earlham (one of the nation’s earliest college peace studies programs), which he considered his greatest contribution to Earlham.

His marriage to Becky ended in 1982, and in 1989 he married Mary James Chenoweth, a college classmate (Earlham ’54). Together they enjoyed traveling, camping, hiking, music, and participating in local and regional Quaker activities, including service on the board of Pendle Hill study center in Wallingford, Pa. He retired in 1997, and they spent ten years in Floyd, Va., a small mountain community in Southwest Virginia, before moving into Kendal at Lexington. In his final years at Kendal, he pursued two of his favorite hobbies: woodworking and photography.

He is survived by his wife, Mary Chenoweth Stratton; his ex-wife, Becky Henderson; three children, Donald Stratton (Earlham ’81), Larry Stratton, and Roger Stratton; three step-children; seven grandchildren; six step-grandchildren; and two siblings, Dorothy Churchwell and Dick Stratton.

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