In Memoriam: Suzanne Volkmann


The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution announces with great sorrow the death July 26, 2001, of retiree Suzanne B. Volkmann at her home in Woods Hole at age 72 after a brief battle with cancer.

Suzanne (Brainerd) Volkmann was born June 10, 1929 in Boston. She grew up in Portland, Connecticut, and spent summers in North Falmouth. After graduation from Foxhollow School in Lenox, MA, Sue attended Wellesley College, receiving a B.A. degree in mathematics in 1951. She took time to raise her family before returning to school, receiving a M.Ed. degree in secondary school mathematics in 1974 from Bridgewater State College.

Shortly after graduating from Wellesley College, she worked as an engineering aide at United Aircraft Research Laboratory in East Hartford CT, from 1951 to 1952, when she joined the B-16 underwater acoustics program at the Institution. She left WHOI in 1954, working as a research assistant at Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla, CA, before returning to WHOI and the B-16 program in 1957. The following year she left to raise a family, returning to WHOI as a research assistant in the Biology Department in 1974. In 1976 she became a computer programmer in the Information Processing and Communications Laboratory (IPCL), now known as Computer and Information Services (CIS). She was promoted to Research Associate in 1988 and retired in 1994, but continued to work in CIS on a casual basis from 1995 to early 2001. She was the author or co-author of more than 10 publications and program reports.

Active in the Woods Hole community, Sue Volkmann loved the theater and worked with the Woods Hole Theater Company, acting in and directing many productions. Most recently she had served as president of the company's board of directors. She was also well known as the grand marshal of the Woods Hole May Festival parade.

Survivors include her husband, Gordon H. Volkmann, of Woods Hole; three daughters, Leigh Volkmann of Everett, WA, Elizabeth Volkmann of Prudence Island, RI, and Abigail Volkmann of Goldendale, WA; two sons, Timothy Volkmann of Woods Hole and David Volkmann of Pocasset, MA; two brothers, Frank and James Brainerd; three sisters, Dorothy Higbie, Polly Ewing and Eleanor Brothwell; and six grandchildren.

A memorial gathering was held July 31, 2001, at the Dome Conference Center in Woods Hole. Burial was private. Memorial donations may be made to the American Cancer Society, 1115 West Chestnut Street, Brockton, MA 02301, or to the Woods Hole Theater Company, P.O. Box 735, Woods Hole, MA 02543.


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