Dr Robert Frank Curtis obituary
1926 – 11 March 2023
Professor Curtis gained his PhD in Chemistry from the University of Bristol in 1952 and went on to an academic teaching and research career at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, the University of the West Indies in Jamaica and the University of Wales, Swansea.
He joined the newly established Food Research Institute in Norwich in 1970 as Head of the Chemistry Division and was promoted to Director in 1977. In the same year, he joined the Food Standards Committee (under the then Ministry of Agriculture and Food) as Deputy Chairman and took on the Chairmanship in 1978.
In 1984 he was seconded into the Ministry to lead a full review of food research which led to an expansion, reorganization and integration of the programmes of the three institutes in Bristol, Norwich and Reading. He was appointed as Director of the resulting Food Institute, with headquarters in Reading, in October 1985. At the time this had over 600 staff and was the largest food research institute in Europe.
In the same year, he was appointed Commander of the British Empire for services to food science.
He was a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry and a Fellow of the Institute of Food Science and Technology.
He retired in 1988, going on to a further ten-year career as Chairman of the NHS Norfolk Mental Health Care Trust, finally stepping down in 1998 at the age of 73.
He is survived by his wife of 68 years Sheila, three children and eight grandchildren.
A memorial service will be held in Norwich on 24 June 2023. If you would like to attend, please email Simon Curtis here who can provide details.
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