Daniel Francis Caulfield

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MADISON – Daniel Caulfield, age 85, died on Friday, Jan. 15, 2021. He was born in Brooklyn, N.Y., on Aug. 4, 1935, to his parents, Daniel and Sarah “Dorothy” Caulfield and grew up in Brooklyn with his siblings, Dolores “Louise”, Lorraine and John.

Daniel married his sweetheart, Mary. He earned his PhD in Physical Chemistry at the Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn (now part of NYU). Then he did postgraduate work with Nobel prize winner, Peter Debye at Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y. Afterwards, they moved to Madison, Wis., where Dan was a senior research chemist at the USDA, Forest Service, Forest Products Laboratory in Madison for over 40 years. He was an internationally recognized expert on cellulose chemistry and for his theories of moisture interactions in the wood cell wall, the inventor of the SOFORM process crosslinking cellulose to increase wet strength and dimensional stability and conducted outstanding research on interface properties between natural fibers and polyolefins. He worked with graduate students in the Engineering Department at the University of Wisconsin for over 30 years. He had over 75 scientific publications and holds several patents.

While living in Madison, Daniel and Mary raised two sons, Daniel and David. He loved going to the opera, cooking, traveling, and learning Italian. He was involved in Boy Scouts, the neighborhood association, served luncheons to the homeless, and enjoyed outdoor activities. He was one of the founders of the Wisconsin Wetlands Association.

Daniel is survived by his wife of 60 years, Mary; and his two sons and their spouses, Daniel and Susan of Austin, Texas and David and Kathy of Medford, Ore. He is also survived by his sister, Dolores of Loxahatchee, Fla.; and many nieces and nephews. He will be missed greatly by his family and many friends both internationally and at home for his enormous wit and intellect, his generosity and humor.

A celebration of life will be held once we can all gather together safely.

Donations in Daniel’s memory may be made to Madison Opera or the Madison Symphony Orchestra or Agrace HospiceCare Foundation, Inc.

We would like to thank Dr. Ewalt and the entire staff at Associated Physicians who made his long life possible and Oakwood Village Prairie Ridge for the care they gave him.