Ordered by date of passing
Jack William Schwartz, passed away peacefully in Hanford, CA on November 7, 2018. He was 103 years old.
Jack was born in San Francisco on April 28, 1915, the second of two children born to Adolph and Beatrice Schwartz. His family moved to Hollywood, California, where Jack attended Hollywood High School, graduating at the age of 16 in 1931. He then attended the California Institute of Technology (“Cal Tech”) during the Great Depression, where he earned a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering in 1935 and a Masters of Science in Civil Engineering in 1936. While at Cal Tech, Jack was on the crew that surveyed the site for the construction of the Mount Palomar Observatory.
After college, Jack worked as an engineer for the State of California Division of Highways and the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers.
Believing that war was coming, Jack joined the U.S. Navy’s Civil Engineer Corps in 1940 as a Lieutenant, junior grade, and was assigned to duty at Pearl Harbor. He was transferred to Guam in January, 1941. On December 10, 1941, three days after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, the Japanese army invaded Guam. Jack was captured, becoming one of the first U.S. Prisoners of War. He was imprisoned at several prisoner of war camps in Japan until September 1945 when the American Army liberated the POWs.
After World War II, Jack continued to serve as an officer in the U.S. Navy until his retirement in 1962. In 1954, while stationed at the Key West Naval Base, Jack met the love of his life, Jeannette, and her daughter Joan. Jack and Jeannette were married shortly thereafter and his son, Jack Jr. arrived in September 1955. They enjoyed a full and rewarding life, traveling extensively throughout Europe when Jack was posted to NATO Headquarters outside Paris, France, in the late 1950s. Jack’s last posting was to Sandia Army Base in New Mexico, where he worked as an engineer on underground nuclear tests in Nevada. When Jack retired from the Navy, the Schwartz family, moved to Hanford.
From 1962 until 1980, Jack served as the City Engineer and Public Works Director for the City of Hanford. Jack brought a professional engineer’s background to his job. He was responsible for many upgrades to the city’s facilities, including the conversion of solid waste burning dumps to a modern landfill and transfer stations, and the construction of a new corporation yard. One of his proudest achievements was the construction of Hidden Valley Park, which was designed and constructed by employees of Hanford’s Public Works Department.
During the summers, Jack especially enjoyed YMCA Camp at Sequoia Lake with family and friends; his son and grandchildren, Michael and Colin, carry on his fondness for the Lake.
After Jack’s retirement, in between many travels throughout the world, Jack continued to serve the community on numerous boards and commissions. He served two terms on the City of Hanford Planning Commission and the Hanford Board of Building Appeals, five years on the Kings County Grand Jury, and three years on the Oversight Committee for the construction of the College of the Sequoias’ Hanford campus. His last community service was as a member of the City of Hanford’s Parks and Recreation Commission, where he served until he was 102, in 2017. He was honored that year with the Hanford Chamber of Commerce’s Lifetime Achievement Award.
Jack, an avid woodworker, was known in the area for his woodturning. He was a lifetime member of the Sequoia Woodturners. Until he was 102, he could be found turning bowls and goblets with his best friend, Don Wilcox. He was a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the Fresno Chapter of the American Ex-Prisoners of War, and the American Defenders of Bataan and Corregidor.
Jack is survived by his son Jack, daughter-in-law Diane, grandsons Michael and John Colin, step granddaughter Christina and her son John Ryan. Jack was predeceased by his wife Jeannette, step-daughter Joan, and sister, Bebe.
Jack will be buried at the San Joaquin National Cemetery in Santa Nella, California, at 1:30 p.m. on November 30, 2018. A celebration of his life will be held at 11:00 a.m. on December 1, 2018 at the Woods Family Barn, 2557 East Conejo Avenue, Selma, California.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the Fresno Chapter of the American Ex-Prisoners of War, or the Sequoia Lake YMCA Camp Redwood Capital Fund.
October 13, 1938 — October 28, 2018
The arid plateau of central Arizona, the locale of Eldridge Morton Moores’s formative years, would seem to offer an ideal education for a budding geologist, with so much of the earth’s skin exposed and visible to the curious eye. But at the time, that outcome seemed as remote as the little town of Crown King.
His eponymous father wanted him to join the family business, which was mining and hauling, and was suspicious of geologists. As a young teenager, Moores was enlisted to help in the various mines and in driving a wide variety of vehicles. He learned how to shift a manual transmission without the benefit of a clutch, and he developed a lifelong interest in vehicles. At 16, he graduated from the Phoenix High School (there was no high school near Crown King), and, eager to escape the small town of his childhood, he matriculated at the California Institute of Technology.
He could not major in history or music at Caltech and after a brief go with engineering courses, he decided against the major his father would have chosen for him. Conversations with his Resident Adviser sparked the idea of majoring in geology, the value of which was borne out by two summers working in Alaska. His admittance as a graduate student to the geology department at Princeton University cemented his career path.
At Princeton, he was present at the birth of the modern theory of plate tectonics, studying under one of its fathers, Harry Hess. His field research in Nevada for his PhD thesis was followed by research as a postdoctoral fellow in Vourinos, Greece, on the ophiolite complex there. This work, and subsequent work on the Troodos complex on Cyprus while a tenure-track professor at UC Davis, led him to his important contributions to plate tectonics theory. The idea that the earth’s crust was composed of large pieces—the tectonic plates—that move around relative to one another was not new in the 1960s, but it was becoming newly accepted. The work of Moores and others explained how new oceanic crust was being created at the deep-sea mid-ocean ridges and how some plates were subducted beneath adjacent plates.
Moores was hired by the young Department of Geology at UC Davis in 1966, where he stayed the remainder of his career, including as emeritus professor since 2003. In 2011, UC Davis awarded him the honorary title of Distinguished Professor Emeritus. He was a dedicated teacher, served for a time as department chair, and continued his research, publishing his most-widely cited article in 1991, on the SWEAT hypothesis, in which he proposed that a similarity of rocks existing in the Southwest United States and in East Antarctica was evidence for the existence of an ancient supercontinent in which these landmasses had been joined together.
Subsequent studies by other scientists found further corroborating evidence, and the pre-Pangaea super continent was dubbed Rodinia. Over the years, he also became the go-to authority for news media on geology related issues in Northern California, most recently explaining the failure of the Oroville dam spillway.
As his career progressed, he picked up new skills along the way: an instrument here (piano), a language there (Greek, which eventually surpassed his knowledge of French and German). Most importantly, he picked up a life partner. He met his wife-to-be, Judy (née Riker), at a changepartner dance at Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, Massachusetts, not long after returning from his first stint in Greece; three weeks later they were engaged. Raising three children (Geneva, Brian, and Kathryn), she also kept the household—whether it was in their house in Davis or at a field camp in Greece—and served as his key support system and sounding board. Together (along with Lauret E. Savoy) they edited Bedrock: Writers on the Wonders of Geology.
Moores played a role in many other publications as well. He wrote or co-authored more than 130 scientific papers, and with fellow UC Davis geologist Rob Twiss, he wrote a two-part geology textbook: Tectonics and Structural Geology. From 1981-88, he served as editor of Geology, a journal of the Geological Society of America (GSA) and made it one of the most popular journals in the field. He also edited or contributed to a number of general-audience works about geology. But arguably the most famous book in which he played a part was Assembling California, by John McPhee (the final volume of McPhee’s four-volume Pulitzer-prize- winning Annals of the Former World). Assembling California introduced thousands of people to geology, and Moores, along with his wife Judy, led numerous field trips explaining the geology of Northern California to many of them.
Moores used his modest celebrity from the book to advocate for greater earth science education, seeking to establish an earth science graduation requirement in California, and for the UC system to accept earth science in fulfillment of its laboratory science admission requirement.
He was a world traveler, not just for his research, but also as a leader of national and international organizations. He served as GSA president, and subsequently as Vice-President of the International Union of Geologic Sciences. Among numerous other geologic studies, he served as Co-Chief Scientist on the 1993 JOIDES Resolution cruise in the eastern Mediterranean.
He never stopped his involvement with music: playing the cello in the UC Davis Symphony for 28 years and sometimes in the field on a specially designed “traviello” that packed up into a small box for easy transport; lending his perfect pitch to the Unitarian Universalist Church choir bass section; and playing piano with friends. In addition to his wife, and three children, Moores leaves behind his three de Boor grandchildren: Corwin, Jasper, and Malva. Just as he had loved and admired his children for their careers and many accomplishments, Moores loved his grandchildren deeply and was proud of their musical and scholarly success, too.
His death, which was unexpected and tragic, occurred in the Feather River canyon area, in the middle of his favorite pastime—leading a field trip, sharing his knowledge and excitement about geology.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be given to one of the following:
• Eldridge Moores Distinguished Visiting Scholars Fund in the Geosciences (https://give.ucdavis.edu/Go/EMoores)
• Eldridge and Judith Moores Field Geology Fund (https://give.ucdavis.edu/Go/Moores2)
• UC Davis Symphony Orchestra (https://give.ucdavis.edu/Donate/YourGift/141559)
• The Mondavi Center (https://www.mondaviarts.org/giving)
• The Unitarian Universalist Church of Davis, 27074 Patwin Rd, Davis CA 95616-9720, Memo: In Memory of Eldridge Moores
• Or contact Charlene Mattison, Assistant Dean, College of Arts and Sciences, at 530-754-2225 or email@example.com.
John S. Letcher, Jr., of Southwest Harbor, Maine, died May 7, 2018, after a long battle with Parkinson’s disease. John was an avid life-long sailor, completing six trans-Pacific voyages. Two of these were single-handed in a 20-foot boat, for which he was inducted into the Cruising Club of America. John was involved in several America’s Cup campaigns, including serving as senior scientist on the 1987 America’s Cup Stars & Stripes design team. He authored two books on self-steering and celestial navigation for small sailing yachts, and numerous technical articles on the application of aerodynamics, hydrodynamics, and mathematics to yacht design.
John was an exceptionally kind, courteous, and intelligent man, and a loving husband and father. His family cherishes his memory as a man of broad talents, who could build a boat, solve any math problem, play bluegrass banjo, and bake a cherry pie, all with equal skill and enthusiasm. Though his body and mind were ravaged by Parkinson’s disease, he retained his innate sweetness and good humor to the last.
Condolences may be sent to PO Box 684, Southwest Harbor, ME 04679. In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation to the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research.