Ronald Pitts, systems engineer in the Commanding Branch of the Space Telescope Science Institute and long-time Computer Sciences Corporation employee, died suddenly of a stroke on 4 May 2008 at his home in Laurel, Maryland. He was a dedicated scientist-engineer, husband, father, volunteer, and cherished friend to many.
All Posts by Crystal M. Tinch
Ronald A. Parise, astronomer and astronaut, passed away at his home in Burtonsville, Maryland, in the presence of his family on 9 May 2008. He died of a brain tumor at age 56 after several years of valiant struggle. He was an inspiration to many students, ham operators, astronomers, and friends the world over. His enthusiasm for astronomy and space exploration was infectious. We, colleagues at Goddard Space Flight Center and Computer Sciences Corporation, treasured his contributions to space astronomy and human spaceflight.
Bjarne Nilsen was born 2 April 1947. He earned a Bachelor degree at Saint John Fisher College and in 1972 received a Masters degree from the Physics and Astronomy department of the University of Rochester with an interest in astrophysics. To my memory, he was the only student we enrolled who was confined to a wheelchair permanently. During his stay at Rochester he served as a research assistant with H. Van Horn and the undersigned.
Albert G. Mowbray was born on 23 June 1916. He was the son of Albert Henry Mowbray, a professor of economics at the University of California, Berkeley [UCB], and Elizabeth Gray Mowbray. He had one sister, Mary Elizabeth.
Howard H. Lanning died 20 December 2007 in Tucson, Arizona. He was a Software Quality Assurance Engineer for the Data Products Program at the National Optical Astronomy Observatory [NOAO] in Tucson, having returned to his native West after twenty years at the Space Telescope Science Institute [STScI] in Baltimore, Maryland.
Professor William L. Kraushaar, a former MIT physics professor and a pioneer in the field of high-energy astronomy, died 21 March 2008 of complications from Parkinson's disease. He was 87.
James N. Kile, of Needham Heights, Massachusetts, died on 17 August 2007, following a brave two-year battle with cancer.
One of three children of David R. Kile and Betty Jane Kile, Jim was born in Niagara Falls, New York, on 20 April 1958 and lived in the nearby village of Lewiston before his family settled in Alden, an hour east of Niagara Falls, when Jim was nine. Jim's father worked for American Telephone and Telegraph for 37 years, and his mother was a homemaker.
James C. Kemp was born in Detroit, Michigan on 9 February 1927, and died in Eugene, Oregon, on 29 March 1988. He went to high school in Mexico City and did undergraduate studies at the University of Michigan and University of California at Berkeley. Kemp was an active observational astronomer, having migrated from earlier interests in Slavic languages, in which he majored, electrical engineering, and physics. He obtained a PhD in electrical engineering at Berkeley in 1960 and did post-doctoral work there with Erwin Hahn on spin resonance.
Walter G. Egan, a scientist and engineer with a professional life spanning well over half a century, died on 3 November 2003.
John Leroy Climenhaga was born on 7 November 1916 on a farm some 10 km from Delisle, a small town on the Canadian prairies, located about 50 km south-west of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, and died at his home in Victoria, British Columbia, on 27 May 2008. His parents, Reuben and Elizabeth (nee Bert) Climenhaga, were farming folk, and he carried their honest and open attitude to the world throughout his life. John was the seventh born, and last to die, of their ten children. His father also served as an ordained minister of the Brethren in Christ.
Ronald N. Bracewell, Professor Emeritus (since 1991) of Electrical Engineering at Stanford University, and a true renaissance man of science, died of a heart attack on 12 August 2007 at his home.
Ian Robertson Bartky, a physical chemist who turned to history for his second career, died 18 December 2007 of complications from lung cancer. He was 73. In addition to his scientific career, he will be remembered for his meticulous research on the evolution of time systems, especially for his two books Selling the True Time: Nineteenth Century Timekeeping in America (Stanford University Press, 2000), and One Time Fits All: The Campaigns for Global Uniformity (Stanford University Press, 2007).
Allan Rex Sandage died of pancreatic cancer at his home in San Gabriel, California, in the shadow of Mount Wilson, on November 13, 2010. Born in Iowa City, Iowa, on June 18, 1926, he was 84 years old at his death, leaving his wife, former astronomer Mary Connelly Sandage, and two sons, David and John. He also left a legacy to the world of astronomical knowledge that has long been universally admired and appreciated, making his name synonymous with late 20th-Century observational cosmology.
Former AAS president Arthur Dodd Code, age 85, passed away at Meriter Hospital in Madison, Wisconsin on 11 March 2009, from complications involving a long-standing pulmonary condition. Code was born in Brooklyn, New York on 13 August 1923, as the only child of former Canadian businessman Lorne Arthur Code and Jesse (Dodd) Code. An experienced ham radio operator, he entered the University of Chicago in 1940, but then enlisted in the U.S. Navy (1943-45) and was later stationed as an instructor at the Naval Research Laboratory, Washington, D.C.
Rodger Doxsey, an astronomer at the Space Telescope Science Institute, passed away on October 13, 2009, after a prolonged illness. For the past 20 years, Rodger has been known to be truly the go-to guy for making the Hubble Space Telescope perform as it has. I have always argued that no person is truly irreplaceable. I still believe that to be true. However, my colleague and friend Rodger Doxsey came probably as close as anyone ever could to being irreplaceable. I know of no one who had a deeper and more thorough understanding of the workings of HST than Rodger had.
Edwin E. Salpeter, who died 26 November 2008 at his home in Ithaca, NY, belonged to the "second wave" of Jewish scientific refugees from Nazi-dominated Europe, those who left as children just before the onset of WWII and so completed their educations elsewhere. Salpeter was born in Vienna on 3 December 1924, and arrived with his family in Australia in 1939, his father was a physicist and a close friend of Erwin Schrodinger. In Australia, he finished high school, and he entered the University of Sydney at the early age of 16.
Jörn Rossa (often spelled Joern Rossa) passed away on September 19, 2009 at the young age of 40 in Mainz, Germany from a virulent fast-acting blood cancer. He was born in that same city on March 17, 1969 to Alfred and Gudrun Rossa, who survive their only child.
On March 28, 2008, the space research community lost another of its pioneers. William A. Rense, professor emeritus of physics at the University of Colorado in Boulder, who died in Estes Park, Colorado, following complications from cancer. He was 94. Bill, as he was widely known, was born in 1914 in Massillon, Ohio, the son of German immigrants. His was a large family - five brothers and one sister. His father, Joseph Rense, worked for the city of Cleveland while his mother, Rosalia (Luther) Rense was a housewife.
Russell Benjamin Makidon died at the age of 38 in Baltimore on June 22, 2009. Complications following surgery to remove a tumor cut his life tragically short.
Hanging in the basement of Kirkwood Observatory on the Indiana University campus is a battered sign, dated Aug 31, 1932, announcing "Indiana Univ. Eclipse Station." While the path of totality passed well north of Bloomington, IN, where only 80% of the Sun's disk was covered, the eclipse made a lasting impression on the young Frank Kelley Edmondson, then an undergraduate student at Indiana University.