Alfred Viola was a fixture at NESACS Board Meetings when I began my tenure as Nucleus Editor in 2005. He was always a friendly presence and was in charge of the NESACS Continuing Education Subcommittee for many years. He would arrange once or twice a year for a short course of interest to NESACS membership to be held at a convenient location such as Northeastern University where he was an emeritus professor. Those courses would be advertised at no cost in the Nucleus, much to the chagrin of Ad Manager Vince Gale who did not like anybody to get free advertising for an event that was intended to make money.
Al was also a very passionate birder and nature photographer. I remember after one board meeting discussing the camera he had mounted on a “rifle stock” so that he could better track birds and “shoot” them. His wife Joy told me that there were actually three of them made for use by Al and his two nephews.
Al was a much beloved professor at Northeastern University. He was a recent victim of the COVID-19 pandemic and died at the age of 91 in Wayland. Just six months earlier he was interviewed by the Austrian Cultural Center about his life story as a Jewish refugee who escaped Austria at the age of 9 and made a life in the United States. His life story can be found at the Leo Baeck Institute. Listening to the recording is like sitting with Al again.
Al was born July 8, 1928 in Vienna, Austria. He fled the Nazi regime at the age of nine via the Kindertransport and spent a year in Britain before leaving England with his mother to be reunited with his father in New York City. The family soon moved to Baltimore where employment prospects were better for his father. He pursued higher education at Baltimore Polytechnic Institute and Johns Hopkins University. He received his Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry from the University of Maryland.