Arthur L. Schmeltekopf Jr. (1932–2007)



Arthur Louis Schmeltekopf Jr. died of mesothelioma, a lung cancer associated with exposure to asbestos, at his home in Marshall, N.C., on 20 August 2007. He was born on 24 February 1932, in Kyle, Tex., to Arthur L. and Meta (Engelbrecht) Schmeltekopf and grew up nearby on the family farm. Art had an early interest in science. A dispute over the reactivity of alkali metals toward water led to an experiment at Kyle High School involving a chunk of sodium metal and a toilet in the boys' room. The resulting explosion shattered the toilet, creating a flood, multiple geysers and panic in the nearby girls' room, a displaced lid on the school's septic tank, and an enduring school legend.