In Memoriam: Jon Leiby


The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution announces with great sorrow the death of retiree Jon Leiby on May 28. He was 81.

Jon was born in Philadelphia, PA, on February 14, 1934, the son of Henry Nathan Leiby and Dr. Mary (Hiller) Lieby.  He was educated at Friends Central School in Philadelphia.  He received a B.S. in Naval Architecture - Marine Engineering from MIT in 1958. While a student, he worked on coast-wise tugs and tankers.

Jon began his career at WHOI in 1959 as a naval architect.  He described his profession in naval architecture as part art, part technology, and a good deal of precedent.  He designed the R/V Atlantis II, R/V Oceanus, and contributed significantly to the design of the R/V Knorr.  He retired from WHOI in 1991.  After his retirement, Jon became self-employed as a designer of fishing vessels, sea-going tugs, and barges, working with owners and shipyards from New Bedford to California.

His favorite pastimes included sailing his Thistle, the restorating of steam engines, and sharing his wide knowledge of naval architecture and marine engineering with friends and colleagues.

He is survived by his former wife, Carolyn (Brown) Leiby, his children Nathan Leiby and Teresa Capuano of Bristol, RI; Sarah and Jim Caronella and grandchildren Nicholas and Olivia of Lunenburg, Mass.  His sister Beth Hiller died in 2013. He is also survived by his two nephews, Peter and Christopher Ho.  Other family members include his partner, Eva Hathaway Reed, Virginia (Reed) and Grant DeVaul, and their sons Jasper and Oliver of Santa Monica, CA.

A celebration of life is planned for the fall at the Woods Hole Yacht Club.  In lieu of flowers, donations in his memory can be made to the Falmouth Fire and Rescue or the Southern Poverty Law Center.


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