Cover photo for Dr. Ralph B. “Bud” Rozelle's Obituary
Dr. Ralph B. “Bud” Rozelle Profile Photo
1932 Dr. 2020

Dr. Ralph B. “Bud” Rozelle

July 9, 1932 — February 23, 2020

Dr. Ralph B. Rozelle

Dr. Ralph B. “Bud” Rozelle passed away on February 23, 2020. He was born on July 9, 1932, to Grace (Shook) and Ralph Rozelle of West Wyoming. He grew up in West Wyoming, in a home built by his father, a building contractor. He graduated from West Wyoming High School, where he played football and basketball. He played in the PIAA Class C basketball championship game against New Holland in 1950. Following graduation, he was admitted to Wilkes College, working his way through to earn a Bachelor’s degree in Chemistry.

The future Dr. Rozelle started his graduate degree journey at the University of Pittsburgh, but subsequently enrolled in what is now the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences at Penn State. On August 16, 1957, he married Marilyn Jean Ritter at the Forty Fort United Methodist Church, and they settled initially in State College, Pa. They moved to Alfred, New York when he transferred to Alfred University in 1959. He earned his Ph.D. from Alfred in 1961. The title of his Thesis is “Catalysis of Fuel Cell Electrode Reactions”, the work was sponsored by the Department of Defense and NASA. The latter was developing fuel cell technologies for on-board power, ultimately for the Gemini and Apollo Programs.

Following graduate school, Dr. and Mrs. Rozelle returned to Northeast Pennsylvania, where he co-founded Surface Processes, Incorporated in the Back Mountain. Shortly thereafter, in 1962, he left that firm and was hired as Chemistry faculty by Dr. Eugene S. Farley at Wilkes. His role at Wilkes included both teaching and research, and he continued his electrochemistry work. He was also an early pioneer in research into the abatement of acid mine drainage, ultimately extending this to include acid/base interactions in the entire Susquehanna River watershed. Sponsoring organizations for this work included the Environmental Protection Agency, the Pennsylvania Department of Mines and Mineral Industries, the Pennsylvania Science and Engineering Foundation, the Army Corps of Engineers, and the U.S. Public Health Service. He published numerous research papers under both the electrochemistry and water quality topics.

Dr. Rozelle was promoted to the Chair of the Wilkes Chemistry Department in 1965. Through the balance of the 1960’s he added the duties of Full Professor, Director of the Graduate and Research Program, and Chair of the Division of Natural Sciences and Mathematics. During his service as Director of the Graduate Program, Wilkes created new graduate study opportunities leading to MBA and M.S. in Education degrees. His efforts at this time were also directed at developing a four year engineering degree program at Wilkes, one result was the creation of the Materials Engineering B.S. degree at Wilkes in 1968.

Subsequently, Dr. Farley introduced Dr. Rozelle to local physician Dr. Lester Saidman and Dr. Wilbur Oaks of the Hahnemann Medical College. This meeting was about the lack of medical professionals in Wyoming Valley. The outcome of this meeting was to be the launch of the Wilkes-Hahnemann Program, where students would complete their pre-medical requirements in two years at Wilkes and then continue their medical studies at Hahnemann in Philadelphia. Dr. Rozelle accepted the Dean of Health Sciences role at Wilkes in 1974, as well as a joint faculty appointment at Hahnemann. While in this role, his work extended the reach of Wilkes’ cooperative programs to include the Pennsylvania College of Optometry, the Pennsylvania College of Podiatric Medicine, and the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine. Collaboration with Temple University’s schools of Dentistry, Pharmacy, and Occupational and Physical Therapy resulted in a cooperative program in Pharmacy Study, announced by Wilkes and Temple in 1979. These programs have produced numerous accomplishments, the Wilkes-Hahnemann Program itself graduated over 300 physicians, many of whom returned to Northeast Pennsylvania to practice medicine.

Among Dr. Rozelle’s regional service activities were serving as Chairman of the Board of Nesbitt Memorial Hospital and Vice Chairman of the Board of the Wyoming Valley Health Care System, serving on the Wyoming Valley West School Board and the Forty Fort Borough Planning Commission, and serving as Little League Manager. He was Life Member of the American Chemical Society. His other memberships included the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences, Phi Lambda Upsilon, the Penn State Alumni Association, and the Society of the Sigma Xi. He was also a member of Kingston Masonic Lodge #395 and the Irem Temple Shrine.

Dr. Rozelle retired from Wilkes in 1997, and became a baseball and hockey season ticket older. He also stayed active through reading chemistry works, helping his grandchildren with their studies, spending time with an assortment of cats and dogs, and making sure he had the correct times for Penn State Football broadcasts.

In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his brother, Donald S. Rozelle.

Dr. Rozelle was a member of the Forty Fort United Methodist Church. He is survived by his wife, Mrs. Marilyn J. Rozelle, Forty Fort; Children, Dr. Peter L. Rozelle, Forty Fort, Mr. Ralph B. Rozelle, Jr., West Wyoming, and Mrs. Susan E. (James) Harkness, Manahawkin, New Jersey; grandchildren, Ms. Erica Rozelle, Ms. Sara Harkness, Mr. Michael Suchoski, Mr. Dylan Harkness, Mr. Tyler Harkness and Mr. Sean Rozelle; Nieces and nephews, Mrs. Marlene Loose, Mrs. Helen Gabbard, Mrs. Sara Philippi, Mr. Gary Rozelle, Mr. John Rozelle, and their families.

While serving in many roles at academia, Dr. Rozelle’s core focus was teaching Chemistry courses. He was always proud of the accomplishments of his family and his students. Like his father, he was a builder, and his efforts produced opportunities for many people through education. Some of these opportunities remain available today.

His faith was strong and he loved the United States of America.

Funeral service will be held Wednesday at 12noon in the Metcalfe Shaver Kopcza Funeral Home Inc. 504 Wyoming Avenue Wyoming with the Rev. Dr. Michael Stine of the Forty-Fort United Methodist Church officiating.

Interment will be in the Mount Zion Cemetery, Harding.

Friends may call Wednesday 10-12noon in the funeral home.

If desired, donations can be made to the Forty Fort United Methodist Church 26 Yeager Avenue Forty-Fort Pa 18704

For more information or to send condolences please visit us at

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