WORCESTER, MASS. - Richard B. Bishop, 79, of Worcester, an internationally known plastics pioneer and member of the Plastics Hall of Fame, died Aug. 10 at Universi-ty of Massachusetts Hospital. Bishop, a global consultant who traveled to every continent but Antarctica, held 58 patents.
His wife of 55 years, Marie-Louise Bishop, said his death was the result of cumulative medical problems including congestive heart failure and diabetes. Even though he spent the last several years of his life in a wheelchair, he remained active.
``He suffered terribly and he never complained once,'' Marie-Louise Bishop said.
Her husband received a master's degree in chemistry from Holy Cross college, then worked at Socony-Mobil Oil Co. from 1940-1953. He was a polystyrene specialist.
He left to join the Petrochemi-cal Division of Foster Grant Corp. in Leominster, Mass., where he worked from 1953-1959. His work included developing a pilot plant for vinyl chloride polymerization and polymerization of styrene by suspension methods.
After Bishop helped start the Philadelphia Plastics Forum, he was elected, in 1946, president of the first Philadelphia Section of the Society of Plastics Engineers. He became SPE treasurer in 1949.
While at Foster Grant, he helped establish SPE's Pioneer Valley Section. He was active in the American Chemical Society.
In a 1991 Plastics News story when he was inducted into the Plastics Hall of Fame, Bishop said his most important patent covered a method of graft polymerization for making an impact polystyrene.
Later, Bishop became an international plastics consultant. He worked for the United Nations in many developing countries. During the height of the Cold War, he traveled widely, including trips to the Soviet Union and China.
He was a bright, outgoing man who made friends easily - as his wife continues to find out.
Since his death, she said, ``I've gotten calls from all over the world.''