Richard Hadley Holm of Belmont, a former resident of Falmouth, died February 15 at Care Dimensions Hospice House in Lincoln after a short illness. He was 87.

Mr. Holm was a professor emeritus of chemistry at Harvard University.

Born in Boston, he was adopted by James Leslie Holm and Leora (Bennett) Holm and spent his early years on his father’s dairy farm on Nantucket. After his father died, the family moved to Falmouth and he attended Lawrence High School. After his graduation, Mr. Holm majored in science at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, where he met Florence Jacintho. They were married in June 1958.

Mr. Holm completed his PhD studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, settling first in Boston, and then Watertown. While he was an assistant professor at Harvard, the family grew with the first three of four children. During the 1960s and 1970s, his research in inorganic and, later, bioinorganic chemistry led him to serve on the faculties of the University of Wisconsin, MIT, and Stanford University. While living in Wellesley, another child was welcomed, completing the family.

From 1980 until his retirement, Mr. Holm worked at Harvard University, where he was chairman of the Department of Chemistry and the Higgins Professor of Chemistry, before becoming the Higgins Emeritus Professor of Chemistry in 2013.

Mr. Holm’s research helped establish the field of bioinorganic chemistry, now a fundamental discipline in the biological sciences.

Throughout his career, he published more than 500 research papers in inorganic and bioinorganic chemistry, and delivered more than 90, both in the US and abroad. Aside from research and teaching, he served his profession as a member of many editorial boards, advisory panels, and visiting committees.

His final years were spent corresponding with fellow scientists while working from his home, along with reading history books and listening to the radio.

In addition to his wife, he leaves his children, Sharon Holm of York, England, Eric Holm of Kamakura, Japan, Christian Holm of Waltham and Marg Short of Palm Harbor, Florida; five grandchildren; and extended family.

Interment of his ashes will take place at Highland Meadow Cemetery in Belmont.

A memorial service will be held at a date to be determined.

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