Stanley Ross Crouch
September 23, 1940—March 9, 2022



Stanley Ross Crouch
September 23, 1940—March 9, 2022


Stan Crouch began his life’s journey in Turlock, California, where he was born to Mildred Barnes and Ned Ross Crouch on September 23, 1940. Stan’s sister, Patricia Ann, joined the family a few years later. Stan spent most of his formative years in Chowchilla, California and graduated from Chowchilla Union High School in 1958 as valedictorian of his class. He was known to his classmates as being serious and studious. He was active in school organizations and was the Student Director of the high school band. During Stan’s youth, the family traveled throughout the West and visited many National Parks including Yosemite, Grand Canyon, and Glacier. In later years, he recounted these trips as stimulating to his interest in science and nature.

Following high school graduation, Stan matriculated at Stanford University in the fall of 1958. He majored in chemistry and graduated in 1963 with a BS/MS. In 1960-1961, he spent six months in Florence, Italy studying music and Italian art at the Stanford branch campus, an experience that stimulated his lifelong love of overseas travel and all things Italian. Back at Stanford the following year, Stan began to develop his love for analytical chemistry under the guidance of Douglas A. Skoog. Skoog and Donald M. West had recently completed a draft of their first textbook, Fundamentals of Analytical Chemistry, and the quantitative analysis students at Stanford used the draft as their course text. Stan’s fifth-year project for his MS was a study of an iodine-thiocyanate complexes in nonaqueous solvent, on which he wrote his thesis in 1963 under Skoog’s mentorship. Skoog urged Stan to attend graduate school in chemistry and recommended The University of Illinois, from which Skoog had earned his Ph.D., and which he saw as the nexus of analytical chemistry in the United States at that time with prominent faculty such as Herbert Laitinen, Howard Malmstadt, and others.

Soon after arriving at The University of Illinois in the fall of 1963 while under the strong influence of one of Howard Malmstadt’s senior students, John Walters, Stan decided to join the Malmstadt Group. Stan joined the group in the midst of an era in analytical chemistry at Illinois that some have described as a “golden age”. The rich cast of characters who inhabited Noyes Laboratory included Walters, Ramon Barnes, Gary Hieftje, Gary Horlick, Bonner Denton, visiting scientists Emil Cordos and T. P. Hadjiioannou, and of course, Stan. Malmstadt’s charismatic leadership in the fertile environment that evolved in his lab produced an exciting stream of projects and discoveries in the 1960s, ‘70s, and beyond. It was in this environment that Stan became convinced of the potential of kinetics in analytical chemistry, an interest that served him well throughout the remainder of his research and teaching career.

Integral to much of the activity in the Malmstadt lab was the strong thread of electronics, instrumentation, and later, computers. Howard and Chris Enke had developed the famous Electronics for Scientists textbook, course, and equipment that eventually spread to many universities, and most of the Malmstadt group was involved at times in teaching the course at Illinois. The philosophy that arose as a result was that research and teaching were but two sides of the same coin. Experiments and discoveries made in the research lab very often ended up as experiments in the Electronics for Scientists course, and lessons learned in the teaching lab often became integral to research projects. This symbiosis very much appealed to Stan, and he later passed on this philosophy to his own graduate students. Stan’s publication record at Illinois demonstrates an interesting progression. From 1966 through 1969, Stan published six papers during his time in the Malmstadt group. The first was a paper published in The Journal of Chemical Education describing automatic systems to display rate data [teaching instrumentation]. The second paper, which incidentally is his second-most cited paper, explored the mechanism of the molybdenum blue method for determining phosphate [fundamental chemistry], and the third described a reaction rate method for determining phosphate [method development and instrumentation]. This progression of papers is noteworthy as an example of the theme of symbiosis between learning and research.

Stan’s last projects at Illinois were examples of his skill in and inclination toward collaboration. The first resulted from work with Emil Cordos attempting to refine readout systems for rate methods. They arranged a circuit to integrate the difference between two regions on a rate curve, and they noticed that consecutive readings displayed on a DVM at the output of the difference integrator were nearly identical. Changing the input rate produced yet other results that were nearly identical. The operating principle of the device has been used in many other devices and applications over the years both within and outside the Malmstadt, Enke, Crouch branch of the academic tree. Stan finished his dissertation in January of 1967, and spent the 1967-68 academic year as a Visiting Assistant Professor at Illinois. During his last year or so at Illinois, Stan formed a fast friendship with one of Malmstadt’s undergraduate research students, Jim Ingle. They constantly discussed research topics, and so following his graduation from Illinois in the spring of 1968, Jim spent the summer teaching the electronics course with Stan.

In Fall, 1968, Stan became a member of the faculty at Michigan State University, and Jim Ingle followed along to East Lansing to study kinetics and instrumentation with Stan. This was indeed a fortunate circumstance for both of their careers because between 1970 and 1972, Jim and Stan published seven papers. Over the ensuing 2-3 years, Stan’s group grew steadily with the addition of Paul Beckwith, Scott Goode, Akbar Montaser, Gene Palermo, and Jack Zynger. By the time that Stan retired in 2000 after 32 years at MSU, he had mentored 56 graduate students, several undergraduate students including Alex Scheeline, Al Ronemus, Pat Sulik, and Jeff White, and several postdocs including Eric Johnson and Adrian Wade. Over that period, the group had produced over 150 publications in diverse subdisciplines of analytical chemistry. Seven of the students chose to work jointly with Stan and Chris Enke, George Leroi, and Vicki McGuffin.

Stan’s students have warm memories of their time in the Crouch laboratory. They recall that he gave them immense freedom to pursue their interests. Students describe Stan’s “ravenous appetite for learning” and that this attitude was contagious in the laboratory. As with most labs, there were from time to time “hijinks” of various sorts. One particular incident occurred shortly after the lab acquired a small He-Ne laser. One student thought that it would be great sport to shine the laser beam on the sidewalk outside the Chemistry Building to spook students walking by. Of course, although quite hilarious, the administration was not amused with such activity, and the boom was lowered. Another “educational activity” in the SRC lab was a computer program called The Tenure Game, which was written by Scott Goode. The game was a simulation of the tenure process including grant writing, research v. teaching, and publication, a somewhat sardonic game of life in academia. Group meetings produced lively discussions of research, chemical news of the day, group activities, and group concerns. Stan’s students played hard, worked hard, and formed many lifelong friendships.

Soon after arriving in East Lansing, Stan became a valued member and coauthor in the Malmstadt/Enke writing team and joined in the teaching and experiment development for the electronics course. Stan had become acquainted with Chris Enke while teaching the Electronics for Scientists summer course at Illinois, and his joining the writing team was a natural progression that began with the publication of four lab modules in 1973, which were eventually combined to produce the Electronic Measurements for Scientists textbook in 1974. Stan was instrumental in the development and writing of all subsequent incarnations of the Malmstadt, Enke, and Crouch books, concluding with Microcomputers and Electronic Instrumentation: Making the Right Connections in 1994. For many years, Howard, Chris, Stan, and others taught an electronics short course at ACS meetings, Pittcon, and other venues. In 1988, Jim Ingle and Stan published Spectrochemical Analysis, which for many years was the standard textbook and reference in analytical spectroscopy. In 1996, Stan’s many contributions to education in analytical chemistry were recognized by the ACS Division of Analytical Chemistry with The J. Calvin Giddings Award for Excellence in Education, and in 2001, his work in Chemical Instrumentation was rewarded with The Division’s award in that field.

In 1988, Stan was invited to a school reunion in Chowchilla, and there he reconnected with kindergarten classmate, Veronica (Nicky) Gartner. They began a long-distance relationship that culminated in their marriage in December, 1990 with Chris Enke as Best Man and Doug Skoog in attendance. Nicky and Stan then moved to Okemos, MI, where they lived until he retired from MSU in 2000. Soon after, Stan and Nicky moved to Prescott, AZ to be closer to Nicky’s children and grandchildren in California. A few years later, they moved to Minden, NV, which was only a four-hour drive away from the family. Finally, in the spring of 2014, the Crouches settled in Spring Lake Village, a retirement community in Santa Rosa, CA, which was a mere 21-mile drive from Healdsburg, where Nicky’s son, Michael Gartner and his family lived. Sadly, only 2 years later, Nicky was diagnosed with stage four pancreatic cancer and died very soon thereafter.

After a year or so alone at Spring Lake Village, Stan became acquainted with another resident, the lovely Kazumi Nishio, who was an accomplished and very successful clinical psychologist in the Healdsburg area for many years. They became close friends and ultimately, partners. Stan and Kazumi traveled together to East Lansing so that she could see where he spent his career and so that he could introduce her to old friends from MSU days. In early 2019, Kazumi became ill with pulmonary difficulties and soon thereafter was diagnosed with lung cancer in spite of the fact that she had never smoked. Following a courageous battle including much chemotherapy and numerous trips to the ER and hospital, Kazumi slipped away surrounded by loved ones on July 5, 2019 just three years after Nicky’s illness and death.

At about the time that Stan retired, he was invited to become a member of the Skoog, West, et al writing team, which over the previous 40 years had written many editions of Fundaments of Analytical Chemistry, Analytical Chemistry: An Introduction, and Principles of Instrumental Analysis. For most of the remaining 22 years of Stan’s life, he was a major force in the writing and revision of these textbooks, and in 2003, he and Jim Holler wrote the first edition of Applications of Microsoft Excel in Analytical Chemistry. Stan’s last book was Fundamentals of Analytical Chemistry, 10th ed., which was published a few months prior to the onset of his illness.

Stan was a sports fan from the time that he began playing Little League baseball on the sandlots of Chowchilla until the day that he died. He loved the Forty-niners, the Giants, and the Golden State Warriors. He was also a fan of all of the teams of his various alma maters, but he dearly loved the Michigan State University Spartans. He served on the MSU Athletics Council and very much enjoyed the perks of good seats for Hockey, Football, and Basketball as well as the opportunity to rub elbows with great coaches like Nick Saban and Tom Izzo. Until the last few weeks or so of his illness, Stan was still able to watch his favorite teams on TV, and it was a great comfort to him.

On Friday, October 15, 2021, Stan was hospitalized with weakness, abnormal bleeding, and general malaise. On the following Monday, he was diagnosed with acute leukemia, and he began chemotherapy immediately followed by regular platelet and whole blood transfusions. Following four months of grueling treatments, Stan decided to go home to Spring Lake Village and live out the remainder of his days in relative comfort. On Wednesday, March 9, Stan arrived at SLV, and his condition deteriorated very rapidly. He died a few hours later. None of his family or friends were prepared for such a rapid demise, but Stan was beyond weary, and clearly, it was time for him to let go.

Stan is survived by his sister Patricia Ann Twigg (Ash), his stepson Michael Gartner (Karen), grandson Alexander, granddaughter Victoria, stepdaughter Kathy, and grandsons Brendan and Jacob. Dear friend and companion, Barbara Weisman, accompanied Stan through his last years of life, attended to his needs during his extended illness, and worked tirelessly to maintain his hope and spirit during this most difficult time. Stan’s many friends, colleagues, and students will miss his good humor, his quick mind, his encyclopedic memory, and his dedication to teaching, learning, and writing.


Jim Holler,  April 6, 2022