With the passing of Gary Grasdalen on 30 April 2003 the astronomical community has lost one its most creative members. Born in Albert Lea, Minnesota on 7 October 1945 to the farming family of Lars G. and Lillie Grasdalen, Gary developed a strong childhood interest in science, and a particular fascination with astronomy. In 1964, he entered Harvard College intending to pursue those interests.
All Posts by Crystal M. Tinch
Preston F. Gott, Professor Emeritus of Physics and former Director of the Observatories at Texas Tech University, died 13 January 2002 after a bout with Cancer. Mr. Gott was born 21 November 1919 in Waxahachie (Ellis County) Texas. He received his Bachelor of Science and Master of Arts degrees from the University of Texas at Austin. His first wife, Edna Maynard Gott, passed away in 1986; their two children are Eugene Willard Gott and Edith Suzanne Gott. After his retirement from Texas Tech University in 1989, he married Orene Whitcomb Peddicord, M.D.
Robert Fleischer was born 20 August 1918 to Leon and Rose Fleischer in Flushing, NY. He was educated at Harvard, receiving his BS in 1940, MA in 1947, and PhD in 1949. He specialized in geophysics and solar-terrestrial relations. Fleischer joined the faculty at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute advancing from Assistant to Full professor in 1958. As Director of the RPI Observatory, Fleischer attempted to bring modern astronomy to the institutions in the Albany area by procuring the funds to build a radio telescope.
On 24 March 2002, the solar physicist Sidney Edelson died in Santa Barbara, California. Sidney was born in Brooklyn NY on 24 August 1916 to Benjamin and Sarah Edelson. His father worked in the garment industry. He obtained his BA from Brooklyn College (1938) and a MA from New York University (1949). He entered Georgetown University in 1950 and received both a MA (1953) and PhD (1961). His PhD thesis was entitled ``A Study of Long and Short Term Variations in Solar Radiation at Radio and Optical Wavelengths."
Ernest H. Cherrington, Jr., a long-time member of the AAS, died in San Jose, California on 13 July 1996, following a long illness. He had a short but active career as a research astronomer at Perkins Observatory at Ohio Wesleyan University in Delaware, Ohio before World War II, in which he served as an officer in the Army Air Force. After the war ended he turned to full-time teaching and administration at the University of Akron, and then at Hood College in Frederick, Maryland.
William Buscombe, an emeritus professor at Northwestern University, died from a massive stroke on 13 March 2003. He was a stellar spectroscopist and was working on the 16th edition of his catalog, entitled ``MK Spectral Classifications" at the time of his death.
Franklyn Mansfield Branley was born in New Rochelle, New York, 5 June 1915, and died of natural causes in Brunswick, Maine, on 5 May 2002, just one month before his 87th birthday. He will be remembered by the hundreds of grateful students he so skillfully introduced to astronomy.
Horace Welcome Babcock died in Santa Barbara, California on 29 August 2003, fifteen days short of his ninety-first birthday. An acclaimed authority on solar and stellar magnetism and the originator of ingenious advances in astronomical instrumentation in his earlier career, he served as Director of Mount Wilson and Palomar (later Hale) Observatories from 1964 until his retirement in 1978. The founding of the Carnegie Institution of Washington's Las Campanas Observatory in Chile was the culmination of his directorship.
The announcement still lies in my inbox: "Lawrence Aller died last Sunday." On 16 March 2003, one of the world's fine astronomers passed away at the age of 89, leaving behind a legacy that will ripple as long as there are students of the celestial science, one that incorporated observation, theory, education, care, decency, and kindness.
Romuald Zalubas, a long-time member of the Atomic Spectroscopy Group of the National Institute of Standards and Technology, died of a stroke on June 27, 2003.
Raymond E. White, Jr., died unexpectedly at his home, in the early morning hours of October 12, 2004. Death appears to have been caused by severe diabetic shock. He retired from the Department of Astronomy/Steward Observatory in July 1999 with the title of University Distinguished Professor, after serving on the faculty of this institution for over 35 years.
Fred Whipple, one of the founding fathers of planetary science, died on August 30, 2004 just two months shy of his 98th birthday. The breadth of Fred's published research from 1927 through 2000 is quite extraordinary. Although his collected works were published in two massive volumes in 1972, shortly before his retirement, Fred's research contributions continued for another three decades - and another volume is planned.
James A. Westphal died September 8, 2004. He had battled a neurological disease related to Alzheimer's for the past year. He was 74.
Robert M. Walker, PhD, Professor of Physics in Arts & Sciences and a faculty fellow of the McDonnell Center for the Space Sciences, died of stomach cancer Thursday, 12 February 2004, in Brussels, Belgium. He was 75. Walker worked on the frontiers of space research for more than four decades.
Bill Sinton, one of the pioneers of infrared planetary astronomy, died at his home in Flagstaff, Arizona, on March 16th 2004, at the age of 78.
John Beverley (Bev) Oke passed away of heart failure early on 2 March 2004 at his Victoria, B.C. home. Bev's insatiable scientific curiosity led to fundamental contributions in many areas of stellar and extragalactic astronomy, including the development of advanced instrumentation for the largest optical telescopes and the mentoring of scores of grateful students and colleagues.
Ben H. Moore, emeritus professor of physics, astronomy and earth sciences at St. Cloud State University, Minnesota, died 7 November 2003, in South Padre Island, Texas. Ben was born 18 March 1921, in Kansas City, Missouri, to Fraser D. and Cora R. (Hawkins) Moore. Though his parents provided a strong guiding influence on Ben's development, Ben's career was impacted most clearly by his work as a student and research assistant for Allen Basset (Ben's father-in-law) at Park College. This relationship turned Ben's early interest in chemistry and biology toward a focus on physics.
As director of the American Association of Variable Star Observers for thirty years, Janet Mattei led the organization through a series of major improvements and in the process, helped and influenced amateur and professional astronomers around the world. Having successfully tackled many challenges, however, Janet lost her battle with acute myelogenous leukemia on 22 March 2004.
Michael James Ledlow died on 5 June 2004 from a large, unsuspected brain tumor. Since 2000 he had been on the scientific staff of the Gemini Observatory in La Serena, Chile, initially as a Science Fellow and then as a tenure-track astronomer.
Michael was born in Bartlesville, Oklahoma on 1 October 1964 to Jerry and Sharon Ledlow. He obtained his Bachelor Degree in astrophysics at the University of
Oklahoma in 1987 and attended the University of New Mexico for his graduate work, obtaining his PhD while studying Galaxy Clusters under Frazer Owen in 1994.
J. (Jeannette) Virginia Lincoln died on 1 August 2003 of natural causes at age 87. She was a pioneer in space weather forecasting and was instrumental in establishing the World Data Center-A for Solar-Terrestrial Physics (WDC-A for STP) at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) National Geophysical Data Center (NGDC). Lincoln received a U.S. Department of Commerce Gold Medal for Distinguished Service in 1973 for outstanding accomplishments and leadership.