On November 21, 2009, Walter Stern died. Walter was a chemical engineer who, in 1946, helped design the production process for saccharin, the first product of Sigma Chemical Company. When Monsanto entered the saccharin market, Sigma almost foundered. In searching for new opportunities, Sigma soon turned to ATP (adenosine triphosphate, the high-energy intermediate in almost all cellular processes), their first—and possibly the world’s first—commercial biochemical. The rest, as they say, is history.
Walter worked at Sigma for almost 60 years, from these earliest days until well after Sigma-Aldrich had surpassed $1 billion in annual sales. Even in retirement, Walter could often be found on site doing … well, we aren’t quite sure what. His main energy during retirement was devoted to raising orchids. He was 94.
There will be a service in celebration of the life of Walter Stern at First Presbyterian Church of Kirkwood (map), 100 East Adams, on Friday, February 12, 2010 at 3:00 pm.