Rivers Singleton, Jr. - Spicer-Mullikin Funeral Homes & Crematory

Rivers Singleton, Jr.

Born September 2, 1939

Rivers Singleton, Jr., of Newark, DE, passed away Monday, February 23, 2015 after a brief illness due to complications from multiple sclerosis.

Born September 2, 1939 in New Orleans, LA, he was the son of the late Rivers Singleton, Sr and Bernadette Erie Singleton.

His early education was in Jefferson Parish, LA. However, the most impactful educational experience of his life was in attending Trinity University in San Antonio, TX. While at Trinity, he received a Bachelor’s of Science in Chemistry, held office as President of the Student Chapter of the American Chemical Society, served in the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps as a US Army Officer Reservist, and, most importantly, met his future spouse, Patricia Sams. Following graduation from Trinity in 1961, his active duty was briefly deferred as he worked towards a graduate fellowship in the Department of Biochemistry at Michigan State University in Lansing, MI, where he received a Master’s of Science in Biochemistry. Rivers then served the US Army as a Clinical Chemistry laboratory supervisor at Fort Hamilton, NY for several years, before beginning work toward a PhD in Biochemistry at the University of Kansas Medical Center in Kansas City, KS.

He then went to the second most significant academic milestone that impacted his future academic life, as the recipient of a postdoctoral fellowship in the Department of Biochemistry at Case Western Reserve University, in Cleveland, OH where he continued his work on the biochemistry of bacteria. Following a fellowship with the National Science Foundation at NASA Ames Research Center in Mountain View, CA, Rivers moved to the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Delaware in 1974, where he advanced through the ranks until his retirement in 2013. While at UD, his teaching and research interests spanned the sciences and humanities, and impacted nearly 40 years of students.

Outside of his academic work, Rivers was an avid enthusiast of the Arts; he enjoyed photography, regularly attended the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, and was a long-standing patron of the Resident Ensemble Program of the Department of Theater at the University of Delaware.

He was preceded in death by his spouse of 49 years, Patricia Sams Singleton, and is survived by three children and their spouses/partners; David R. Singleton/Joan Carpenter, Melissa S. Josef/Kurt Josef, and Eric C. Singleton/Jennifer Maden; four grandchildren, Robin G. and Meredith P. Singleton; Luke R. and Elena C. Josef; and one step-granddaughter, Madeline M. Josef.

A memorial service will be held at 1 pm on Saturday afternoon, March 21, 2015 at the First Presbyterian Church of Newark, DE, 292 West Main Street, Newark, DE 19711 followed by a reception next door at the Newark Country Club. Interment will be held privately.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Delaware Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society by visiting: http://www.nationalmssociety.org/Chapters/DED) or to First Presbyterian Church of Newark at the address listed above.


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5 Condolences for Rivers Singleton, Jr.

  • It was a pleasure caring for your father during the last year or so of his life. He was ambitious and impressively carried out his life despite the significant impact of his disease. He did not complain about his medical problems, but coped as best he could. He was obviously a wonderful role model for his children and entire family. My staff also offers their condolences. Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

    Sincerely, Stuart Felzer MD

  • My sympathies to David, Melissa, and Eric and the rest of his family. I appreciated your dad. He helped me to become a teacher, something I love and continue to do today.

  • Dear David, Melissa, and Eric (also Joan, Kurt, and Jennifer, and grands) … We are so sorry for the loss of your Dad. He and Dom had some good talks over pizza and beer (well, wine for your Dad) these last few years. We will miss him. Both of your folks have meant a lot to us over these last 20+ years. Most words seem trite, but I really do believe that he is again with the love of his life, dancing and hiking and touring the great cities and museums and opera halls of the world! His dear Patsy! Unfortunately, I will not be able to be there for his “send off”, but Dom is intending to come. I will be down South at the time. Blessings to all of you for how you honored your parents and took care of them! Please know that your love and care was known to others, and greatly admired. Don’t be strangers. Shalom .. Syl Berta

  • Dear David, Melissa and Eric,
    This is the end of an era. I had good conversations about evolution with Rivers at UD, and then when we both were at the CardioK rehab gym in Newark – I don’t know how he managed to do all he did there, from getting that chair out of his “911 van” to getting into the building and onto a bike. There were nice conversations with Pat and with Rivers at the Acme … people that are now missing from the scene. David: I remember those math sessions at Central Middle!
    I will not be able to attend your father’s memorial as I have to attend another one at the same time, but will be thinking of you all,

  • At church, at the University, in the community, Rivers was an inspiration to live the fullest life of which we are capable. He could always be relied upon to adopt a reasonable and well-reasoned position on issues. I admired his intellect, his character, and his personality. We are worse off for the loss him, but better off having known him. My condolences to David, Melissa, and Eric. I regret that I will be unable to attend the service today. My thoughts will be with you.