Ray Grenchik, a retired professor of the Department of Physics and Astronomy, Louisiana State University (LSU) , passed away on 28 September 2000 after a lengthy illness. Grenchik was a native of Whiting, Indiana, and the eldest of seven children. He graduated in 1943 with a BS from St. Procopius College (later known as Illinois Benedictine College (1971-1996) and then, since 1996, Benedictine University). He received his Master's degree from the University of New Mexico, and his PhD from Indiana University in 1956. Grenchik studied with the late Marshal Wrubel at Indiana, where his thesis was one of the earliest theoretical attempts to model the atmosphere of a white dwarf star.
Grenchik's early career saw him as an instructor at the University of Chicago Signal Corps School, a junior physicist at the Metallurgical Laboratory of the University of Chicago, an Instructor at the University of New Mexico, at the Michigan Tech-Sault Saint Marie Branch, and at Vanderbilt University.
The majority of Grenchik's academic career took place at the Department of Physics and Astronomy, LSU, Baton Rouge, from 1957 until his retirement in 1988. His early years saw continued theoretical investigations of white dwarf atmospheres along with variable star studies at the campus telescope. These efforts resulted in several Masters' theses and a PhD thesis.
Over the years, Grenchik taught almost any course in the department which needed teaching. He was known to be helpful, but firm, with the droves of students who populated the physical science and introductory astronomy classes. The author of this note always will be grateful to Grenchik for his willingness to lecture, via the swapping of classes, when the author was away observing.
After Grenchik's retirement, he served nine years as Catholic chaplain at Dixon Correctional Institute, was active in the prison ministry, and was a leader in his church community.
Photo courtesy of Louisiana State University