Skip to content
For WHOI personnel, vendors, and visitors: COVID-19 Guidelines

The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution announces with great sorrow the death of former employee Richard Lee Haedrich on July 17, at the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Hanover, New Hampshire. He was 78.

Born in Wilmington, Delaware, Richard attended the Wilmington Friends School and went to Harvard University for both undergraduate and graduate studies, obtaining a Ph.D. in oceanography in 1964. While in Boston, he met his future wife Susan. They moved to Falmouth, where he began working at WHOI in 1961 as a research assistant under Frank Mather. He left and came back in 1963 as a summer student fellow under Dick Backus. In 1964, he did a predoctoral fellowship for one year. In 1966, he became an assistant scientist.  He left in 1979.

In 1979, he moved with his family to St. John’s, Newfoundland where he was a professor at Memorial University of Newfoundland. During his time at Memorial, he contributed greatly to strengthening research in the ocean sciences, first as director of the Newfoundland Institute of Cold Ocean Science, and later as director of Memorial University’s Ocean Sciences Centre. He was a dedicated researcher, highly respected internationally, and devoted to his students, many of whom were inspired to follow in his footsteps, becoming researchers themselves. He retired as a professor emeritus in 2003 and he and his wife moved to Norwich, Vermont, in 2009.

He was a great nature lover, be it to pursue a deeper understanding of ecological systems, to delight in an unusual bird sighting, or to simply revel in the beauty of it all during an early morning row, hike, or fly-fishing expedition. He was fascinated with the stark beauty and vastness of the North, and developed a deep love for Newfoundland and Labrador during the 30 years he spent there. He was also a great jazz lover. A self-taught musician, he played the trombone for many years with the Dr. Jazz band in Newfoundland. He was deeply attached to his family and loved being surrounded by his children and grandchildren. His lively curiosity, thoughtful insights, great humanity and generosity, and wonderful sense of humor are an inspiration to us all.

He is survived by his wife, Susan; his three children and their spouses, Tyson (Barb), Daniel (Ann), and Alexandra (Francois); his five grandchildren, Caitlin, Sarah, Owen, Graham, and Emilie; as well as his three siblings Bruce, John, and Jean.

In lieu of flowers, donations to the Vermont Land Trust would be greatly appreciated. A service to celebrate his life will be held in the fall.

Information for this obituary is from the Valley News website.