Dr. Ronald James Clarke will be remembered for his landmark scientific and technical work in the coffee industry. He died peacefully on March 30, 2017, and as part of his last will and testament, Dr. Clarke donated 1000 € to the ASIC.
A chemist and pioneer in the early days of the science and technology on coffee, Dr. Clarke was involved in developing standards for coffee and wrote and edited a number of highly influential technical books on coffee, for which he will be most remembered. Born in Huddersfield UK on January 1, 1919, he lived most of his life in Chichester. On earning a first-class honors degree in chemistry from Keble College, Oxford in 1941, Ron started work at Unilever in Port Sunlight, where he remained for ten years. From there, he moved to McDougall’s in food chemistry. In 1957, he published his first book, Process Engineering in the Food Industry. It was also in 1957 that he started his work on the subject that was to become his life work - coffee.
Ron moved to General Foods Corporation in the UK, where he spent 30 years involved in research to improve the quality and taste of instant coffee, from the green bean to the final product. In 1967, the International Standards Organization (ISO) and the British Standards Institution (BSI) started to develop standards on all aspects regarding coffee, including instant coffee. Ron was there from the beginning and was also President of the ISO from 1989 until 1997. He was also very active in the Association Scientifique Internationale du Café (ASIC), our current Association for Science and Information on Coffee, to which he bequeathed this generous donation.
Dr. Clarke retired from General Foods in 1983 and started editing, together with Robert Macrae, a series of six widely-acclaimed books on Coffee. These books, published between 1985 and 1988, are still considered to be standard works on coffee and cover all aspects of the subject from its chemistry, technology, physiology, agronomy and commercial and technico-legal aspects. During this time, and until he was about 90, Ron worked as a consultant to many different companies, gave many invited lectures, and in 2001 co-authored a book with Prof. O.G. Vitzthum, Coffee – Recent Developments, another standard work in the world of coffee.