Page 127

development, in addition to production, sales, and services.

In 1977 Henkel (Germany) bought General Mills Chemicals' mining chemicals business, and in 1982 Joe House helped arrange acquisition of Shell Chemicals' oxime technology for a new family of extractants. Having overseen the establishment of a new mining chemicals plant in Cork, Ireland, Joe was being urged to relocate to Henkel's headquarters in Germany. He chose to remain at his long-time family home near Minneapolis, and so retired from Henkel in 1986, only to find he was in immediate demand as a consultant. Joe, often accompanied by his beloved wife, Marydella, traveled the world, but somehow seemed to get to London for the theater season most years. He still consulted for Henkel, but he was scrupulous in avoiding conflicts of interest with his other clients.

During his career Joe House won too many awards to be listed here, but the common thread that ran through many citations was the word “perseverance.” He was certainly perseverant, but he was also unfailingly generous in giving credit to his colleagues and, as I learned, even his friends. One night in Washington, D.C., after a National Academy of Engineering meeting, he said he intended to take me to dinner. We had an excellent repast at the Willard, and I asked what the occasion might be. Joe said, “When we first met in Minneapolis in the early 1960s, I told you about my troubles with the copper reagent. You encouraged me at a time when I really needed encouragement.” Coming from Joe, that was my greatest compliment!

The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement