David spent his boyhood in Wrexham before proceeding to University College Bangor from where he graduated with first class honours in chemistry and obtained his PhD. He held a post-doctoral appointment in Sweden before becoming a lecturer at the University of St Andrews. During this time he was awarded his DSc and developed his interests in chemical speciation. In 1977, he was appointed professor and head of the department of applied chemistry at the University of Wales Institute of Science and Technology (UWIST), which later became the School of Chemistry, Cardiff University.
He continued work on trace element chemical speciation, especially the development of computer simulation to predict the species most likely to be present in biochemical and environmental systems. This research soon established a sound international reputation for his research group, with collaborators across the world and the work being recognised by several prestigious awards. David was frequently invited to present keynote addresses at conferences, which he presented in his own inimitable thought-provoking and often humorous style.
David's broad and international interests in science led to his appointment to numerous government advisory committees, which included acting as chairman of the British Council Science Committee and serving on the Committee on Radioactive Waste Management. He was awarded an OBE for these services in in 1993.
He also devoted much time to the work of the Royal Society of Chemistry, both to the South East Wales Local Section and nationally, serving on the Committee for Recruitment and Retention of Members, the Membership Affairs Board and the Membership and Qualifications Board during the last ten years.
After his official retirement, David still continued to lecture, serve on advisory committees and was appointed Chief Marshal at Cardiff University. Alongside his busy professional life, David was devoted to his family, community and church. He is survived by his wife Gillian and their daughters Caroline and Kerstin, together with three grandchildren Thomas, Hannah and Charlie, of whom he was very proud. He will be greatly missed.
Written by his daughter, Kerstin Williams, July 2013.