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B. Ray Hawke (1946–2015)

Published onDec 01, 2015
B. Ray Hawke (1946–2015)

Reprinted with permission from NASA Pacific Regional Planetary Data Center.

Dr. Bernard Ray Hawke passed away on January 24 at Straub Hospital in Honolulu. Dr. Hawke, known as “Ray” to family and childhood friends and as “B. Ray” to most of his planetary science colleagues was a renowned lunar scientist, valued mentor, devoted brother and uncle, and cherished friend to many. He was born on October 22, 1946, in Louisville, Kentucky, grew up near Elizabethtown, Kentucky and attended public schools in that area. He participated in Future Farmers of America and 4-H activities. His 4-H leader worked for the U.S. Geological Survey. This sparked an interest in geology in young Ray and later led to a paid internship doing field mapping in central Kentucky. He also was inspired by President Kennedy’s speech calling for a manned Moon landing.

Ray earned a B.S. in geology at the University of Kentucky. He then entered the Army and served with the 173rd Airborne Brigade and N Company, 75th Rangers in Vietnam during 1970 and ’71. After leaving the Army, he returned to the University of Kentucky where he earned his M.S. in Geology. He continued his geology studies at Brown University where he earned another M.S. and a Ph.D.

Dr. Hawke joined the small group of planetary geologists at the University of Hawaii in 1978. That group grew and later became part of the Hawaii Institute of Geophysics and Planetology. In 1983, he established the Pacific Regional Planetary Data Center, one of NASA’s Regional Planetary Image Facilities, and remained Director until his death. Dr. Hawke’s lunar geology interests included impact craters and volcanic deposits. He was a pioneer in advocating the use of the resources associated with pyroclastic deposits by future inhabitants of the Moon. His scientific studies involved active collaborations with colleagues in Hawaii and around the world, and their success was due to his generosity. He shared his ideas and knowledge and gave his time to help others.

Dr. Hawke is survived by his brother Stephen, Stephen’s wife Nancie, and their children David and Michael of Columbia, Missouri.

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