In Memoriam: Samuel T. Simkins


The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution has received word of the death November 12, 2003, of retiree Samuel T. Simkins at Haborside Healthcare of Falmouth after a brief illness. He was 79. Sam joined the WHOI staff in 1968 as a research assistant in the Geology and Geophysics Department. He transferred to the Ocean Engineering Department in 1971 and to the Physical Oceanography Department in 1976, working with the Buoy Group until he retired in 1988. He then worked at WHOI on a casual basis from 1991 to 1993.

Sam was born June 2, 1924 in Lilly Chapel, Ohio. He served in the US Navy for 24 years, retiring in 1964 as a chief petty officer. During World War II he served in the American and Asia-Pacific theaters and participated in the Philippine liberation. Sam also served in the wars in Korea and Vietnam. Following his military service he worked for Cape Cod Marine Service as a marine electronics technician from 1966 to 1968.

He joined the WHOI staff in March 1968 as a research assistant, working with Whitey Witzell in the Geology and Geophysics Department. In 1971 he transferred to the Ocean Engineering Department and was promoted to Senior Research Assistant in 1973. In 1976 he transferred to the Physical Oceanography Department, working briefly with Keith Bradley and then for Joe Poirier in the Buoy Group.

Sam participated in a number of cruises as a member of the Buoy Group. His contributions and capabilities in the successful deployment and operation of acoustic releases, current meters and other mooring equipment and related gear was acknowledged and appreciated by scientists from a number of organizations. Sam retired from WHOI in June 1988 but returned to work on a casual basis in 1991. He resigned in 1993.

An avid freshwater fisherman, Sam was active in the VFW and Amvets Posts in Falmouth and was a charter member of the Falmouth Lodge of Elks.

Survivors include his wife, Dorothy (Chrysler) Simkins of Falmouth; three sons, Ronald of Mountainhome, PA, Robert of Oak Bluffs and William of Falmouth; two daughters, Linda Littreal of Fort Walton Beach, FL and Melissa Rutledge of Falmouth; nine grandchildren, and seven great-grandchildren.

A memorial service will be held November 18, in the Chapman, Cole & Gleason Funeral Home, 575 Main Street, Falmouth, followed by burial at the Massachusetts National Cemetery in Bourne.

Memorial donations may be made to the Falmouth Lodge of Elks Scholarship Fund, 140 Palmer Avenue, Falmouth, MA 02540.


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