In Memoriam: Carol A. Alessi


The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution announces with great sorrow the death on May 22, 2003 of Carol Ann Alessi of Centerville after a long illness. She was 51. At the time of her death, she was an Information Systems Associate in the Physical Oceanography Department, working with Bob Beardsley and Amy Bower.

Carol A. Alessi was born December 17, 1951 and graduated from Wayland High School in Wayland, MA, in 1969. After high school, she attended Greenfield Community College, receiving an associate's degree in 1972, and in 1974, earned a BA degree in psychology from Framingham State College. The following year she was awarded a certificate from Adelphi University National Training Institute for Communications.

After brief jobs as a Reach Out Youth Social Worker in Sherborn, MA, and a financial data processor/computer operator for Frank Bearse, CPA in Hyannis, Carol joined the WHOI staff in December 1977 as a research assistant in data processing, working with Dick Payne in the Physical Oceanography Department processing current meter data being collected in Buoy Group experiments including the Joint Air-Sea Interaction Experiment (JASON) and the Local Dynamics Experiment (LDE). Carol's role included helping at sea with mooring operations and CTD surveys as well as basic processing and working with numerous WHOI and outside scientists with advanced analysis and documentation. In 1980, Carol began working with Bob Beardsley as a programmer/data processor with the coastal oceanography group, building a software library and maintaining and modifying computer programs used to convert data from the Sigma 7 to the VAX computers. She worked on a number of projects including the Coastal Ocean Dynamics Experiment (CODE) and the Nantucket Shoals Flux Experiment.

In 1983 Carol was promoted to Research Assistant II and worked with Bob Beardsley, Steve Lentz, Breck Owens, Kathy Kelley, and Mike Caruso as system administrator for six University Research Initiative Program (URIP) Sun UNIX workstations. She established the CODE data archive on the VAX and worked with Bob and Steve on the Shelf Mixed Layer Experiment (SMILE) and AMASSEDS, and with Hans Graber, processing wave model data and analyzing remotely sensed data. During this period, Carol became more interested in information systems, and started working towards a B.S. in computer science at U Mass Dartmouth, reaching junior standing in 1991. In 1993 Carol was promoted to Information Systems Associate II and continued working with Bob and Steve on projects including the Georges Bank GLOBEC and CoOP programs and managing a large suite of coastal and moored oceanographic, meteorological, and satellite data sets being collected by the coastal group. Carol also worked with Amy Bower to develop a high-quality hydrographic database for the Gulf of Aden, Gulf of Oman and Arabian Gulf, and more recently worked with Dick Limeburner and Jack Whitehead on their Antarctic Bottom Water moored array data and with Nelson Hogg and Scott Worrilow on VACM data processing.

A quiet caring individual, Carol had a deep interest in learning and making a positive contribution. Carol participated on a number of WHOI committees and received the first Linda Morse-Porteous Award in 1991 for her leadership, dedication, mentoring and involvement in the WHOI community. Carol was commissioned an Ensign, U.S. Navy Reserves, in 1987 and worked in naval intelligence at South Weymouth and Fort Devens, MA. She was promoted to Lieutenant in 1991 and Lieutenant Commander in 1996 and received several commendations, including the National Defense Service Medal in 1993 for work during Desert Shield/Storm and the Navy Achievement Medal in 1994. Carol spent 1999-2000 on active duty in Hawaii, helping the Federal Emergency Management Agency develop methods to use Department of Defense satellite and other environmental data in planning natural disaster warning and recovery efforts.

Carol is survived by her two children, Carl (14) and Ana (13), who will live with Carol's sister Laura and her husband, Steven Cheromcha, in Middleboro, MA; two other sisters, Vivian Kerins of Bolton, MA and Patricia Sollami of Devens, MA; and many nieces, nephews, and cousins.

Visiting hours will be 5 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, May 28, at the John-Lawrence Funeral Home, 3778 Falmouth Road (Rt. 28), Marstons Mills, MA. A funeral Mass will be at 10 am Thursday, May 29, at Our Lady of Victory Church, 230 South Main St, Centerville, MA. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations can be made to Hospice & Palliative Care of Cape Cod, 270 Communication Way, Hyannis, MA 02601.


Media Relations Office

(508) 289-3340