In Memoriam: James R. McCullough


The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution announces with great sorrow the death of retiree James R. McCullough on July 19, in Falmouth.  He was 77.

Jim was born on April 13, 1935, in Pittsburgh, PA. He graduated from Shadyside Academy in Pittsburgh. He received a B.E.E. (Electrical Engineering) from Yale University in 1959, and attended the University of Texas with a major in Astronomy from 1964-1965. Jim started his career as chairman of the science department at the Pomfret School in Pomfret, Connecticut, where he built the telescope for students studying astronomy.

Jim began working at WHOI in 1967 as a research associate in the Physical Oceanography Department. In 1973, he became a research specialist.  He retired from WHOI in 1997.  During his tenure at WHOI, his background in electrical engineering enabled him to make significant contributions to the design and development of the vector averaging current meter, which is still in use at WHOI today. Using his skills in physics, mathematics and geodesy, he designed and built gravity measurement devices and other oceanographic instrumentation.

His colleagues remember him not only for his technical expertise and clear explanations of complex topics, but for how much fun it was to work with him.

In addition to being an oceanographer, an astronomer, and builder of telescopes, Jim was an enthusiastic skier, swimmer, hiker, and an avid sailor. He sailed his boat, Chandell, throughout New England waters. A gifted teacher, he taught his children to sail boats of all sizes.

He leaves his wife, Martha and children, Donald McCullough, Suzanne Vaughn, Gair McCullough, Peter McCullough, Stephanie Matthews, and Ian Patrick McCullough. He also leaves six grandchildren, Casey Williamson, Kathleen McCullough, Lisa McCullough, Lauren McCullough, David Larson, and Brian Mc- Cullough; and two brothers, David G. McCullough of Martha’s Vineyard and George R. McCullough of Pittsburgh. He was predeceased by another brother, C. Hax McCullough Jr.

The funeral will take place in Pittsburgh July 25, with a graveside service at 1:00 p.m., at Allegheny Cemetery.

A memorial service on Cape Cod will be announced at a later date.


Some of the information for this obituary was taken from the Falmouth Enterprise.


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