John William Ledbetter, Jr.

  • Tuesday, July 29, 2014

John William Ledbetter, Jr.

John William Ledbetter, Jr. (Bill), scientist and outdoorsman, age 76, died Thursday, July 24, 2014. Bill was born in Aiken, SC and grew up in Greenwood, SC where he earned his Eagle Scout. He graduated from The Citadel Class of 1959 and went on to earn his PhD in Physical Chemistry from Duke University in 1962. While at The Citadel, Bill was the Regimental Commander in Band Company and was a member of the Summerall Guard. He served in the Army as First Lieutenant from 1962-1965. During his time in the Army, Bill met the love of his life, Patricia Schofield. They were married in Statesville, N.C. After a brief time in industry, Bill began his career in academia as a Visiting Assistant Professor of Chemistry at the University of Kentucky. In 1966, he accepted a tenure-track position in the Department of Biochemistry at the Medical University of South Carolina where he remained for over 35 years. During these years he taught biochemistry to medical, dental, nursing, pharmacy, and graduate students. In 1970, Bill was awarded a prestigious NIH Fellowship to study under the renowned Professor Gerhard Herzberg who in the following year won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry. During his tenure with Dr. Herzberg, Bill conducted fundamental research that contributed to the knowledge of the electronic structure and geometry of nitrogen. Specifically, Bill was the first to spectroscopically identify a new Rydberg state of the nitrogen molecule, which bears his name, the Ledbetter Band.

When Bill and Patricia moved to Summerville in 1972 they brought their three children to the home where they still resided at the time of Bill’s passing. Bill was a member of Bethany United Methodist Church, President of the Sue Knight Sunday School Class and served on the Administrative Council at Bethany. He was also a member of the Charleston Symphony Orchestra Chorus. After Bill retired from MUSC, he and Patricia spent much of their time at their mountain home and travelling around the world.

Bill was an avid outdoorsman and conservationist. He was passionate about planning his upcoming expeditions, teaching his (grand)children about nature, and spending quality time outside. When turkey season was in he often said “go early, stay late.” He also had several articles published in hunting magazines telling of his hunting adventures.

Bill is survived by his wife, Patricia and his three children, Laurie Stullenbarger, Amy Rogers (Travis), John W. Ledbetter, III (Lisa) and nine grandchildren, Eli Stullenbarger, Solomon Stullenbarger, Sarah Davidson Stullenbarger, Mary Randall Rogers, Stow Rogers, Hattie Rogers, Ashton Ledbetter, Kensley Ledbetter and William Ledbetter.

Friends and family were invited to a visitation at Parks Funeral Home Saturday evening from 6 until 8 o’clock. Funeral services were held Sunday evening, July 27, 2014 at 4 o’clock at Bethany UMC Spell Chapel. Burial was at Saluda Memorial Park in Saluda, NC on Monday afternoon, July 28, 2014 at 1 o’clock. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to St. Jude Children’s Hospital, 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis, TN 38105, or to Shriner’s Children Hospital, 950 W. Faris Road, Greenville, SC 29605.

Arrangements by Parks Funeral Home, 130 West 1st North Street, Summerville, SC 29483. www.parksfuneralhome.com.

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