John W. Firor, a former Director of the High Altitude Observatory and the National Center for Atmospheric Research, and a founder of the Solar Physics Division of the American Astronomical Society, died of Alzheimer's disease in Pullman, Washington on November 5, 2007, he was 80. He was born in Athens Georgia on October 18, 1927, where his father was a professor of agricultural economics.
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The Society is saddened to learn of the death of member Myron "Mike" Lecar, who passed away 2 March 2011.
Robert H. Koch, emeritus professor of astronomy and astrophysics at the University of Pennsylvania, passed away at his home in Ardmore, Pennsylvania on 11 October 2010 after a brief illness. Bob was 80 years old and remained sharp and intellectually engaged with the astronomical community up until the onset of complications from a brain tumor.
Professor Benjamin F. Peery, Jr. died at his home in Silver Spring, MD of natural causes on 30 November 2010. His full life began in St. Joseph, MO (home of the Pony Express) on 4 March 1922.
In his seventy years, Malcolm Raff never did figure out exactly what he wanted to be when he grew up. The only son of lawyer Henry Raff and music teacher Ruth Raff (nee Marshak), Mal’s interests vacillated between the analytical and the artistic. Early skill as a pianist and trombone player competed for his youthful attention with amateur radio and astronomy, leading him to pursue a liberal arts education at Gettysburg College in Pennsylvania, from which institution he earned BS degrees in math and physics in 1961.
Thomas J. Ahrens, a leader in the use of shock waves to study planetary interiors and impact phenomena, died at his home in Pasadena, California on November 24, 2010, at the age of 74. He was the California Institute of Technology’s Fletcher Jones Professor of Geophysics, formally emeritus since 2005 but professionally active to the end.
Brian Geoffrey Marsden was born on 1937 August 5 in Cambridge, England. His father, Thomas, was the senior mathematics teacher at a local high school. It was his mother, Eileen (nee West), however, who introduced him to the study of astronomy, when he returned home on the Thursday during his first week in primary school in 1942 and found her sitting in the back yard watching an eclipse of the sun. Using now frowned-upon candle-smoked glass, they sat watching the changing bite out of the sun.
A summary of AAS activities is published each August.
Earle B. Mayfield passed away peacefully in his sleep 28 May 2007 in Los Osos, near San Luis Obispo. He retired there to grow orchids, make wine and teach part-time at California Polytechnic University, San Luis Obispo (Cal Poly SLO). He was born in Oklahoma City in 1923. After his discharge from the Coast Guard he went to UCLA where he graduated in physics in 1950. He married Peggy Masterson in 1952 after they met while they both worked at the China Lake Test Station. He obtained a Ph.D. in physics in 1959 from the University of Utah.