Henry Barwood, professor of geology at Troy University, went into surgery to remove a kidney stone on Friday, Sept. 9.
According to Govind Menon, professor of physics and department chair of chemistry and physics, as an aftermath of the surgery, Barwood had a pulmonary embolism, which led to his death.
A pulmonary embolism is the sudden blockage of a major blood vessel in the lung, usually a blood clot, according to WebMD.
Menon said that Barwood had emailed him earlier on Friday notifying Menon that his most recent journal article had been accepted for publication by American Mineralogists.
“Henry was a scholar through and through,” Menon said. “He could have stopped publishing a long time ago. He never did. He was constantly active when there was no pressing academic need to be active.”
Barwood earned his Ph.D. at Virginia Tech University and had been an employee of Troy University for 14 years. He was most notably known as the professor of earth and space science general studies course.
Throughout his career, Barwood has published numerous scholarly articles, served on editorial boards, attended conferences and made research contributions.
“He was always a great scholar, very mild-mannered and humble,” Menon said.
Menon said Barwood could identify minerals, rocks or other materials that faculty had presumed “curious” in their backyards. He was often able to identify exactly what the specimen was and the particular area in the state where it was most prominently found.
Menon said that Barwood told him about three weeks before he passed away that a mineral would be named after him (Barwood).
“We have to follow through to make sure that happens,” Menon said. “I think he referred to it as Barwoodite.”
Diane Porter, department chair of mathematics, served as Barwood’s first department chair before the mathematics and chemistry and physics department split.
“Henry cared about people and had a passion for people,” said Porter.
Mariah Cantrell, a sophomore elementary education major from Lynn Haven, Florida, said that Barwood proved his passion to students by what he taught them.
“Dr. Barwood was an extremely knowledgeable professor, proving his passion and dedication to geology with each passing lecture,” Cantrell said.
“In the few short weeks of having him as my professor, he taught me to never idly sit back and accept what is thrown at you but to challenge and question it instead, never accepting anything at first glance,” she said.
Porter said that when Barwood started at Troy, he was always looking for ways to make improvements to the technology and equipment for the betterment of the students.
“He was laser-focused on acquiring equipment that was needed for students to investigate and learn to love the discipline as much as he did,” Porter said. “He wanted to create the best lab experience possible for earth science students.”
Porter said that Barwood wanted to share his passion of science with his students.
“He wanted to bring to life what was so vivid in his mind and his experience for students,” Porter said.
Porter said she heard of Barwood’s passing on Monday morning and was unaware of his circumstances.
“All of it was a shock; this is a loss for the university and the community,” Porter said.
“Dr. Barwood was a well-respected and much-admired member of the Troy University faculty family since 2002,” Earl Ingram, senior vice chancellor for academics said. “He served as our primary faculty member in Geology.
“During his time with us, he touched the lives of thousands of students in a very positive way,” Ingram said. “Not only was he an effective and appreciated teacher, he was a published scholar in his field who was actively researching right up to his untimely passing. His students and colleagues will miss him.”
Barwood had emailed his students notifying them that there would not be class on Friday, Sept. 9.
“Class will not meet tomorrow. We will meet next week. Your test 1 scheduled for next Wednesday will be given. It will cover chapters 1, 2 and 3,” Barwood’s email said.
Students received an email from Menon on Tuesday, Sept. 13, notifying them “of the unexpected passing of Dr. Henry Barwood.”
According to Menon’s email, students were reassured that classes would continue with minimal disruption and would resume Monday, Sept. 19, as usual.