Winifred Tarpey

Chemistry professor, loving mother

Winifred Tarpey, also known as Tween or Win, died peacefully at her Inverness home on August 13, 2014. She was 89.

Ms. Tarpey was a lifelong Californian. She was born September 16, 1924 and grew up in Oakland, graduating from Oakland Technical High School in 1942. She graduated from the University of California at Berkeley in 1948 and later attended graduate school at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She studied chemistry in an era when few women were in the sciences.

Over the course of her studies, Ms. Tarpey co-authored a number of articles in her field. These included papers with esoteric titles such as “Branched-Chain Fatty Acids with Branching Methyl Groups Near the Carboxyl,” printed in the Journal of Organic Chemistry, and “The Preparation of Demerol-N-Methyl-C14 by Reductive Methylation1,” published in the Journal of the American Chemistry Society.

She married Ray Frazer in 1950 and moved to Claremont in 1952. She and Mr. Frazer had five children and divorced in 1973. Ms. Tarpey worked for many years as a chemistry teacher at the joint sciences department of the Claremont Colleges, retiring in 1986. She was very proud that two of her granddaughters later attended Scripps College in Claremont.

She moved to Inverness after retiring, and enjoyed her gorgeous Marin County home until her death. Win was an avid reader, hiker, swimmer and dog lover,  who remained active her entire life. She was an inspiration to all who knew her on how to live a good life.

Ms. Tarpey is survived by her sister Martha; by her five children, Alan, Liz (Bob), James, Barb (Jeff) and Catherine; and by her seven grandchildren, Meghann (Mike), Thomas, Nicole, Lane (Leah), Randi, Leah and Garrett. She also leaves two great-grandchildren, Tye and Ethann, several nieces and nephews, many friends and her dog Charlie.

A celebration of Ms. Tarpey’s life will be held in mid-September in Inverness. Details are pending.

If anyone would like to share their memories of Win, please mail them to Catherine Frazer, 63 Spring Creek Rd., Absarokee, MT 59001 or send them by email to


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