Bernard Buchholz, 81, of Blue Bell, Montgomery County, a retired research director for the chemical firm Elf Atochem, died of cardiac arrest on Wednesday, May 19, on a cruise ship docked at Hamilton, Bermuda.

Born in Springfield, N.J., Mr. Buchholz was valedictorian of the class of 1947 at Springfield High School, and earned a bachelor's degree in chemistry at Drew University in 1951 and a doctorate in organic chemistry at the University of Virginia in 1956.

A son, Carl, said that Mr. Buchholz joined Pennsylvania Salt Co. in 1956 as a bench chemist and spent his career with the firm, which became Pennwalt Corp., then Elf Atochem. He retired in 1992.

Mr. Buchholz shared authorship with other Pennwalt scientists of work that earned the firm 25 patents.

In retirement, his son said, Mr. Buchholz and his wife of 54 years, Audrey, lived in Ocean Pines, Md., where he was "a commander of the Power Squadron boating safety organization" and a member of Kiwanis International.

The couple recently returned to Blue Bell, where they resided earlier for 27 years.

Besides his son and wife, Mr. Buchholz is survived by a son, Douglas; a daughter, Linda Boughton; and five grandchildren.

A funeral service was set for 1 p.m. Tuesday, May 25, at the First Presbyterian Church of Ambler, 4 S. Ridge Ave., followed by private burial.