The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution announces with great sorrow the death May 20, 2007 of retiree Henri Berteaux in West Falmouth, MA. He was 78.
Henri was born in Paris, France, on November 17, 1928. He received his B.S degree in engineering physics from Université Laval in Quebec in 1961 and his M.S. in electrical engineering from Princeton University in 1962. He also served in the French Foreign Legion.
Before working at WHOI, Henri was employed at North Shore Paper Company in Quebec as a civil engineer. He then went on to work as an instruction assistant at Princeton University; a design engineer at Chicago Bridge and Iron Company; and an engineering manager at Rebikoff Oceanics, Inc. in Florida.
Henri joined the Institution staff in 1966 as a research associate under Nick Fofonoff and worked for many years in the Ocean Engineering Department. During his tenure at WHOI, Henri laid the foundation for the analytical design and review of the performance of the moorings at WHOI. At the time of his death, Henri was an engineering consultant.
“Henri will be remembered for his valuable engineering and business expertise, his professional attitude, and his excellent sense of humor,” said Ralph Stephen, senior scientist at WHOI and former colleague. “We cannot remember when he ever stopped smiling.”
Among Henri’s many projects at WHOI was the Low Frequency Acoustic Seismic Experiment (LFASE) for which he served as the lead mechanical engineer. This project, carried out in the 1980s in conjunction with Fred Spiess’ Deep Tow Group at Scripps, installed an array of geophones in a borehole observatory off the coast of Florida. He was also involved in project FAMOUS and ADOM, among others. Henri retired from WHOI in 1992 as a principal engineer.
Henri wrote two books titled Buoy Engineering and Coastal and Oceanic Buoy Engineering. He authored and co-authored many publications, and held various patents. Henri also taught an ocean engineering graduate course as part of the WHOI/MIT Joint Program.
Henri was known for his constant sense of humor and devotion to his family. He had a love of painting and was very proud of his work. He also had a great fondness for his dogs.
He is survived by his wife, Susan Berteaux; two sons, Jean-Marc and Philippe; two step-sons Sean and Jason Putnam, and three grandchildren.
A memorial service will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, May 26, 2007 at St. Patrick’s Church, 511 Main Street, Falmouth, MA, 02540, followed by a reception in the church hall.
In lieu of flowers donations may be made to the Henri O. Berteaux Memorial Scholarship Fund, P.O. Box 204, Buzzards Bay, MA 02532.