Roy Eddleman passed away in his sleep last week. He was 82.
Many of us know Roy for his annual Christmas parties held at his Bel Air mansion. My personal experience with Roy began when I jointed the Labor Day LA Foundation along with many other community members including Keith Kaplan, Fred Anawalt, Don Zuidema, David Wood, Rob Seate and so many others as we embarked on a cause to raise money over the Labor Day weekend to help local non-profits. It was an honor to be a part of the Labor Day LA Foundation and have the opportunity to work closely with Roy during those years.
Roy was the the Founder and CEO of Spectrum Labs, which specialized in developing bioprocess-filtration technologies (The company was bought out by Repligen in 2017). Then in 1969, Roy founded Spectrum Medical Industries to create radioimmunoassay tests for clinical chemistry as well as sell the equipment used in such assays. He has patented (with others) many products, including the successful “fleaker,” a combination of the Griffin beaker and the Erlenmeyer flask, and coauthored a series of patents involving magnetic particle separation for clinical chemistry assays.
When he started Spectrum, Roy began collecting scientific art, particularly paintings that depict chemistry and alchem, which represent a lot of the people experimenting with the revelations that had come out of alchemy. He donated his collection of 17th- to 19th-century paintings to the Chemical Heritage Foundation in November 2002, along with funds to create the Roy Eddleman Institute for display and preservation of CHF’s art and artifacts. Together with the collection of Chester G. Fisher, donated to CHF in March 2000, the Eddleman and Fisher Collections are one of the largest collections of alchemical art in the world. He has also established the Eddleman Quantum Institute with an Eddleman Endowed Fellowship at UCI, and the Eddleman Quantum Fund and Eddleman Endowed Fellowship at Cal Tech.
In 2020 he founded the Eddleman Center for Quantum Innovation’s mission is to facilitate the acceleration of progress in quantum science and engineering research, education and programs. The center will support quantum research activities through seed funding projects and student fellowship awards.
But none of those accomplishments describe the man many knew as a loving warm hearted guy who welcomed so many into his home.
From Uncle Bill Wilson “In the worst of the early years of the AIDS crisis Roy was there with an open heart and an open checkbook. He, along with others, organized an annual event called Labor Day LA, which over the years raised almost $2 million to help alleviate the suffering of those who were under a death sentence from that horrible disease. That was a time when there was no cure and no government support. Our community had to look to ourselves to try to relieve this suffering.
He hosted innumerable fundraisers and sponsorships to provide monies that literally made the difference between life and death for many of us—or at least eased the passage to an often inevitable outcome.
Roy will be remembered for many things, but I think he would be most proud of what he did in those difficult years. His selflessness and generosity were the inspiration for others whose actions spoke louder than any words in that dire period.
On the lighter side, Roy will be remembered for his annual Christmas parties to launch the Holiday Season on the first Friday each December. In abundant supply were fine food, drink and much merriment by guests who could number in the hundreds. To Roy that did not matter—he just enjoyed being the consummate host making sure everyone had a good time.
He will be missed.
Across Facebook many shared photos of good times with a tremendous sense of loss:
Jonathan Hosenseidl: I have no words to express my gratitude for everything Roy gave us, inspired us to, and how he made everyone around him a better person.
Terry Bean: “May we all be blessed with people like Roy and carry forth their legacy by living fully, with gratitude and generosity toward those whose paths cross ours. Give back as he did”
Warren Cohn: If ever a man lived his best life..it was Roy Eddleman. Thank you for always being a beacon of happiness, witty one liners and nothing but smiles and love for everyone who came in your life.
Mitch Apodaca: Truly a self made man that built a financial empire with tools that were designed to help mankind. A chemist by trade, biomedical innovator, shrewd businessman, avid collector, and yet always an explorer at heart. His life is a college commencement speech on what is available in a great country like ours.
Rest in Peace Roy Eddleman. Thank you for your gifts to the world.