Spectroscopist Eileen Skelly Frame Dies

January 30, 2020

Eileen M. Skelly Frame, PhD, a spectroscopist, chemistry professor, and industrial chemist, died at the age of 66 on Monday, January 13, 2020, following a year-long battle with cancer.

Eileen M. Skelly Frame, PhD, a spectroscopist, chemistry professor, and industrial chemist, died at the age of 66 on Monday, January 13, 2020, following a year-long battle with cancer. She was the first woman to serve as a chemistry professor at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.

Skelly Frame was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1953. She graduated Summa Cum Laude in chemistry from Drexel University, in Philadelphia, in 1975. She was the first woman commissioned from Drexel’s Army Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) program. She served as Medical Service Corps officer in the U.S. Army from 1975 to 1986, rising to the rank of captain. For the first five years of her military career, Skelly Frame was stationed at the 10th Medical Laboratory at the U.S. Army Hospital in Landstuhl, Germany. Then she was selected to attend a three-year PhD program in chemistry at Louisiana State University (LSU). She received her doctorate in 1982 and became the first female chemistry professor at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, in New York.

Following her military service, Skelly Frame joined General Electric (GE) Corporation and supervised the atomic spectroscopy laboratory at GE’s Research and Development Center in Niskyuna, New York. She analyzed practically every stable element in the periodic table in support of all company programs. She also held positions as Clinical and Adjunct Professor of Chemistry at Union College, in Schenectady, and at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, in Troy. She was a 45-year member of the American Chemical Society and served one year as the local section chair. She was the co-author, with her husband, of a 1200-page textbook, Undergraduate Instrumental Analysis. She delivered the draft of a new edition weeks before her death.

Skelly Frame is survived by her husband, George M. Frame II, sister Margaret Skelly-Nolen (husband John and sons Gregory and Michael), sister Bernadette Skelly-Bedell (husband Dan), and brother, Joseph.

She was a proud member of American Legion Post 1450. She was also a devoted cat lover and adopted 12 cats from local shelters over the past 35 years. She had been in in-home hospice care for one week before her passing, during which her devoted cat, Xena, was constantly by her side.

Skelly Frame was an avid fan of LSU football and was delighted to follow its undefeated season this past year; she just missed LSU’s victory in the national championship game. Skelly Frame and her husband will bequeath the residue of their estate to the LSU Chemistry Department to fund undergraduate scholarships.

An interment service will be held in the spring at the Gerald B.H. Solomon Saratoga National Cemetery; the service is tentatively scheduled for the week of April 20, 2020. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Saratoga County Animal Shelter or Saratoga Community Hospice. There is an online space for remembrances on the website of the New Comer Albany funeral home.