He was born on August 31, 1930 in Eindhoven, The Netherlands to Herman H. Princen and Engelina C. (Verhoeckx) Princen. He married Greet Wiesen on July 14, 1955 in The Netherlands. She survives. Other survivors are his son, Norman (Constance) Princen in Long Beach, CA; his sister, Jeanne (Frans) Bakermans in The Netherlands; his brother, Herman (Marie-Justine) Princen in The Netherlands; and sister-in-law, Andrea Princen in NJ. His parents and brother, Henry, preceded him in death.
He earned his Ph.D. on July 4, 1955 and his Doctor of Science in Chemistry on Jan, 26, 1959 from Utrecht University in The Netherlands. He was a postdoc at USC from 1955-58. He served in the Dutch Army from 1959-60. In Sept. 1960, he came to Peoria for a 2-yr assignment at the USDA National Center for Agricultural Utilization Research laboratory. He decided to stay and finished his 30 yr career as the Center Director for 7 yrs, retiring in 1990. He then became Editor-in-Chief for the Journal of the American Oil Chemists’ Society (AOCS) for 8 yrs. He authored 78 scientific publications and held 3 patents. He received many awards, including 2 USDA Superior Service Awards and an Award of Merit from the AOCS. He was a member of the American Chemical Society for 46 years where he served as Chairman of several committees. He also taught Chemistry courses at Bradley.
His life was full, with never a dull moment, always busy, and always enjoying life. He was a great nature lover and took many people on field trips and introduced them to the wonders of nature. His primary interest was birds, but he also enjoyed insects, reptiles, orchids, and other plants. He wrote many articles on bird sightings and wrote a monthly column for Adventure Sports Outdoors magazine for 11 years. He organized the Peoria Christmas Bird Counts and was the first to do a Spring Bird Count in IL. He has traveled extensively to over 40 countries and made video travelogues, which he showed at Audubon Societies and nursing homes as far as Chicago, Decatur, Iowa, etc.
He was an avid musician and played many instruments, including accordion, piano, saxophone, clarinet, violin, and viola. He played for 31 years with the Peoria Pops Orchestra, for which he was also the music librarian.
He was on the governing boards of the Forest Park Foundation and 3 Sisters Park. He was on the boards of Lakeview Museum, the Sun Foundation, and the Audubon Council of IL. He was several times the President of the Peoria Academy of Science, Peoria Audubon Society, and the Peoria Orchid Society. He was a member of The Rotary Club of Peoria.
He donated his body to The Anatomical Gift Association of IL in Chicago and the arrangements are being handled by the Cremation Society of Mid-IL Co., Pekin/Peoria. There will be no services, but instead, there will be a Celebration of Life at Barrack’s Cater Inn on Nov. 9 from 2-5 pm. Friends and family are invited. Memorials may be made to the Peoria Audubon Sanctuary Fund c/o Community Foundation of Central IL, 331 Fulton St, Ste 310, Peoria, IL 61602 or the Peoria Academy of Science Scholarship Fund, PO Box 3412, Peoria, IL 61612
To plant a tree in memory of Dr. Lambertus (Bert) H. Princen, visit the Tribute Store.