UA professor dies after collapsing while skiing

A University of Arkansas professor who collapsed Monday while skiing in Colorado has died.

Robert E. “Bob” Gawley, 64, of Fayetteville, passed away on March 18 while skiing with friends near Steamboat Springs, Colorado.

Gawley served as an educator and researcher for more than 35 years and as a Distinguished Professor and chair of the UA’s chemistry and biochemistry department.

Routt County Coroner Rob Ryg said Gawley may have suffered from a heart attack while skiing on a beginner trail Monday morning, reports Steamboat Today.

Gawley was awarded the Bene Merenti Medal of the University of Regensburg in 2010 for his role in the development and success of a dual degree exchange program in chemistry, facilitated through the UA’s office of study abroad and international exchange. It is the university’s highest award that can be given to someone outside its campus.

That same year he was appointed chair-elect of the organic division of the American Chemical Society and was to have served as chair of the division starting this year.

“Bob was not only an exceptional chemist, but he was one of those rare individuals who helped those around him excel,” said Donald R. Bobbitt, president of the University of Arkansas System and a former teacher in the department of chemistry and biochemistry. “He was kind and thoughtful and his passing will affect the department in so many ways that it is impossible to calculate.”

Gawley is survived by his wife, Lorraine O’Brien Gawley, and two sons, John Joseph and James O’Brien.

According to UA officials, details about funeral and memorial services have not been finalized.