I first met John in kindergarten,Grant School Ridgefield Park N.J.and we went to school together through high school. His name came up in the RPHS alumni newsletter as being one of the most sucessful students in our school. Little did I know how sucessful he had become. I feel so sad to find out of his death and not being able to contact him to tell him what an amazing contribution he has made to this world.We all drift apart over the years. It's so sad that this is the way things go. When I look up I will think of you as one of the shining stars upon us. I love you John, rest in peace.
My sympathy for you & ur family.
My sympathies to you, Rebecca, and to Harry. I am shocked and very saddened by this news of John's death.
John and I attended school together from 8th Grade through High School. I would read of his successes and occassionally see him on television science programs.
A decade ago we both attended one of our RPHS Class Reunions where I had the pleasure of meeting you and visiting with you both. I was glad to see he was happy and so successful in his chosen field.
John was always challenging our teachers and always asking questions. Astronomy has lost one of it's greatest.
I attended school with John. So sorry to hear of his passing. My prayers to his family.
I knew John in grammar school and high school. He was the nicest boy. I knew he was very intelligent and would go far. I am so happy to read he loved what he did and did it so very well.My condolences to all of his family. God has a very special man next to him.
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John's generosity was legendary, and I feel blessed to have had him as a friend, and for a while a long time ago, a colleague. To his son, his wife, and his family, my condolences.
What a painful sorrow to say "goodbye" to John Huchra. Yet with what thankfulness and joy I think of him. As a graduate student at Harvard, I remember him as a professor filled with enthusiasm, who didn't take himself too seriously and instead bounced with joy and a sense of humor. He tried to bolster our confidence by saying that he had been "the worst graduate student" (I doubt that), and gave us all encouragement and a sense of excitement about astronomical discovery.
He remembered students too. Years after my time in graduate school, he would still ask me how I was doing, and even expressed pride and gratitude for my own subsequent career path, something every student longs to hear! And in more recent years I have worked with John in American Astronomical Society leadership roles, ever grateful for his whole-hearted commitment to the field and the positive atmosphere he created by his outstanding leadership.
Most recently he expressed to me his deep gratefulness, concern and love for his family, including parents, wife, son, and all. May you constantly feel his ongoing love, and may God bless and comfort you. The world is a better place because of John!
I first met John when while he was doing a senior research project at MIT with my PhD advisor Icko Iben. Our paths crossed many times since. He was a person of such energy and enthusiasm it's hard to imagine him gone. I have some more pictures of him at http://www.astro.virginia.edu/~rtr/photos/master.html
I was so deeply saddened when I learned of Professor Huchra’s passing. He was one of the finest and first faculty members I met as an entering freshman at Harvard last year. I took his wonderful freshman seminar in Cosmology, and he quickly became a very important advisor and mentor to me. I benefited greatly and in many ways from his sage advice and guidance. He was always warm hearted, very humorous at times, and ever responsive and willing to help his students. In the last email I got from him, he closed with his usual sign off: “let me know if I can help in any other way.” I will miss him greatly and remember him as an extraordinary person, mentor, and professor. My deepest sympathies go out to his family, friends, and colleagues.
I had only just thought of John as I began an MA in Cultural Astronomy/Cosmology at University of Wales. He had been a classmate at MIT with my husband, Dave; we had casually conversed on cosmological and personal ideas at holiday events which gathered together those from his old alma mater. What, I suddenly wondered, might he impart to me now, if only by chance, if only I were perceptive enough? What might I learn from him now, in a new context? In shy, eager hope, feeling foolishly sophomoric, even eager to be humbled, I Googled his name. To learn that my chance to learn from him directly is gone, forever.
To those of you who had the good fortune to learn from him directly; to those of you who to whom he came home each evening; to those who reveled in his comradeship and accompanied him in his endvevors; you are blessed. My heart goes out to you all.
I am deeply saddened to hear of John's untimely passing. He was the only kid I knew who would relax by sitting on the steps of Ridgefield Park High School reading physics and astronomy texts 'just for fun'. It remains one of my clearest and most fond memories of that time. We also shared a hearty dislike of our chemistry professor, who seemed bent on destroying any interest we might have in the subject. Although we lost touch over the years, I always delighted in his many academic successes. My deepest condolences to his wife Rebecca, his son Harry, and his parents.
I am saddened to hear this news. Rebecca, my deepest condolences to you and your family. May John's soul rest in peace.
I was deeply saddend to hear of John's passing. My sincerest condolences to you and the rest of the family. John was a dear friend and colleague. Over the years he set a benchmark for professionalism, collegiality and outright friendship that we all should aspire to. His advice and council will be sorely missed by all of us in astronomy. His place in our profession will never be filled by anyone else. It was a privilege to have been a small part of John's life.
You are in all our prayers.
I was so sorry to see the very sad news. My deepest condolences. John, Harry and you are in my thoughts and prayers.
Deepest condolences are extended to Rebecca from the Corning Incorporated R&D family on the passing of John Peter. Our thoughts and prayers are with Rebecca.
Charlie Craig, Corning, NY
I can't remember when I first met John - sometime in the early 1980's I think - but from that first meeting onwards I always appreciated his friendliness and thought of John as an excellent role model for how an astronomer should be.
I interacted with John in many venues, starting with cloudy nights at the Palomar Monastery in the 1970's. I always found him to be a stimulating companion and a true gentleman. He was a unique person, and I feel the loss which others have expressed.
I was working in the Smithsonian Observatory travel office in 1976 when I met John. He loved going to observe in Tucson and had lots of funny stories - and made it a point of pride to spend as little money has possible on himself so that he could save up for another trip. He was a truly dedicated scientist and a wonderful man.
I knew John for only a single day, when we served together last year on a fellowship committee, interviewing Harvard seniors all day long. I liked him so much--his patience, kindness, sense of humor, and tie with stars on it. I was looking forward to seeing him again at this year's committee meeting.
John and I seem to have practically grown up together, meeting our first week at MIT in 1966, living and working together in Burton/Connor, then going off to Caltech together. We finished in Pasadena and returned East, remaining steadfast friends through turbulent times. John was always entirely dependable, honest, and forthright. So good to so many people, in so many ways. My family and I will miss him deeply.
John had a stronger influence on my career than just about anyone with whom I haven't actually done research. His freshman seminar gave me my first exposure to extragalactic astronomy and served as a model for the course I now teach myself. He provided crucial feedback on an early, embarrassingly bad draft of my graduate school application, which probably saved me from a flurry of rejections. I'm most grateful, however, for his example as a good scientist who was also a good (and exceptionally good-humored) human being. My condolences to his family.
I took his freshman seminar 3 years ago. He brought us apple cider and cookies every week, and I remember (incorrectly) expecting all other courses to be this way. He was calm, friendly, down to earth, and so enthusiastic about class and the topic -- it feels like this was yesterday. May he Rest In Peace.
I was one of the first people to meet John at the CfA. I was the administrator in his group when he arrived in OIR in September 1976 as a CfA fellow. In addition to our being friends, he was my boss for 10 years of our tenure at the CfA. We even joined the CfA bowling league together back in 1977. This is a very difficult loss. Unfortunately I was out of town for the funeral. My sincerest sympathy to Rebecca and Harry. Leslie Feldman, Cambridge, MA
I just heard the sad news and was totally shocked. John was in the committee of my
research exam and I had taken one course
he taught. John is one of the nicest guys in the Astronomy department. He was always an
upbeat person with a lot of energy. I still
remember the Thanksgiving dinner at his
home, the department party at his home, the
department baseball games we played, the pic
of us in the commencement and a brief conversion we had 3 years ago in Hawaii.
My deepest sympathies to his family.
Rest In Peace.
I worked with John on the Astro 2010 committee and have been too sad to write something until now. In our short time working together I came to realize that John was a great human being who just happened to also be a great astronomer. We are all richer for knowing him and poorer for losing him.
I can't say I knew John; I met him only because Rebecca and I had been fellow doctoral students and periodically met at the home of a close mutual friend. Yet he touched my life, that of my wife Sanghamitra, and most of all, that of my son Eric.
John met Eric, then an 8th grader, hugging a corner of the room at a party where Eric didn't want to be. Ignoring other adults, John struck up a long conversation. Later, he told my wife that while Eric wanted to go to CalTech, he would love have the opportunity to teach him at Harvard. A year later, he took on Eric as an intern for a week (a high school requirement). Where others might have stuck such an "intern" into a closet, John engaged him for hours in conversations about about science - and life. Last year, he instantly agreed to write a letter of recommendation to CalTech and after Eric was admitted, equally enthusiastically agreed to be his mentor. On his first day at CalTech, Eric found an email from John, who had truly embraced his role.
Indeed, the little I know of John I learnt by observing this relationship from the sidelines.
I can think of no greater tribute to pay to him: in a world in which the word "guru" has long lost its power, John Huchra was a guru in the original, Sanskrit sense of the word. Our world would be a much better place if more of us did what he clearly relished doing. His passing at so early an age has left us all poorer.
Rebecca, Harry: we are truly sorry for your loss.
I knew John not as an astronomer but as an always interesting person of curiosity and commitment, an enthusiastic mentor, a generous chef and host, a lover of bad movies, good hikes, and wide ranging chats. Above all I knew him as the husband/companion/father/mate and "maker of a life" to and with Rebecca Henderson and Harry. A role from which he is now sadly gone and which I am grateful to have witnessed.
John was always supportive, questioning, funny, straightforward, and helpful to me and a great many other astronomers. Just a few days before his passing, he joined a nearly two hour Pan-STARRS telecon and was full of enthusiasm and ideas for projects on galaxies and quasars.
John was a great person who had a real zest for life and considerable interests outside of astronomy. I did not know him very well, but I will miss him.
I was super excited when John agreed to take me on as the equivalent of an REU student in the summer of 2005, and more so when he told me that we would go observing in Arizona in 3 days as soon as I showed up at CfA. Since then, John had been an enthusiastic and inspirational mentor and friend for all these years. He continued to extend his kindness to me whenever we interacted at random meetings or through occasional emails. I still have trouble believing that he's gone. Condolences to his family...
My wonderful memories of John commence in 1972, when I played left field on the Caltech softball team and John played center. I ran into him - literally - when we both went to catch the same fly ball. (I'm sure I called "mine..." I'm sure he did too.) The next thing I knew we were both on the ground, seeing the kinds of stars that aren't really there. That's the kind of enthusiasm John brought to everything he did in life.
Much later John provided constant, thoughtful, and cheerful support for our expanding efforts to improve astronomy teaching and communication with the public. He always took time out of his busy schedule to help.
People like John make the profession so much more enjoyable and rewarding for all of us. I was and will always be proud when his face is the face people think of when they think "astronomer."
I remember well how I met John in 1987 when I was a PhD student and visited CfA to look for jobs. He immediately made time available to chat about science and about coming to CfA. When I did indeed come to CfA it was great to talk to him, and he was always accessible and open for discussions. His support was invaluable. It was a pleasure to keep in touch over the years when we were visiting in summer months. He did not seem to slow down significantly. We'll miss his enthousiastic presence. My condolences to Rebecca and Harry and family.
I am shocked and saddened by John's sudden passing. I knew him when he was at MIT so many years ago. I remember the parties at Burton house John,even then, was a smart but lovely and sweet young man.my condolences to all of his friends and family
I've known John since 1977 when he stayed with Todd Boroson and me during an extended visit to Tucson. In the years since then, I don't know how many committees I served on with John, most recently the AURA Board and the Space Telescope Institute Council, but it's at least in double digits. We were also co-authors on 15 papers, a tiny little piece of his massive bibliography. It was truly a privilege to work with him.
John was a person of strong character: he was a clear thinker, extraordinarily generous with his time and energy, and was always helpful. And I think Rob put it best in saying that "John squeezed every last drop out of the life he was given". We will all miss him. I join everyone in expressing my sincere condolences to Rebecca and Harry.
I had the privilege of knowing John when I was a grad student. He was on my research exam committee, and while I changed fields for my thesis and didn't interact scientifically with him much, he continued to keep tabs on my progress and always had thoughtful words of advice for me. I've written more about him here:
Rest in peace, John.
For several years, despite the distance between our fields, John and I found ourselves on committees together in Washington. I learned a great deal from these encounters - about the universe, about the workings of the science establishment, and about John himself. His sense of humor and playfulness was always a delight.
I wish his family the strength that they will need in the coming months.
John was an immensely successful and influential astronomer, with a huge heart and generosity of spirit that made him so special to so many of us. For me he was everything you could ask of a colleague and a friend, always there to help, advise and encourage. I will cherish the memories of our long chats on mountaintops and in hotel lounges over 30 years, and witnessing the joy and fulfillment that Rebecca and Harry brought into his life. Although I am deeply saddened by this loss, I am also comforted in knowing that John squeezed every last drop out of the life he was given. His is a life dearly missed but also one to be celebrated.
I first met John as a PhD student working on the Tully-Fisher relation and Ho. This work was rather controversial at the time in that it suggested the possibility of Dark Energy and thus attracted quite a lot of criticism. However, John was extremely supportive of my efforts and I will always remember his energy and enthusiasm when we would discuss the latest issues of the controversy. I will miss John and my sympathies are with his family and friends.
My condolences to his family and everyone else who knew him. I was his graduate student - apparently, and sadly, his last - and he was very patient and helpful to me from beginning to end. I was excited about the chance to work with him, and very lucky I got it. Thanks for everything, John!
Professor Huchra was a fantastic departmental advisor when I was an undergrad. He suggested the grad program that I ended up in, and made me feel at ease with great stories of trucking and Teamster glory.
I'm so sorry I never got a chance to tell him that. My condolences to his family.
I'm just an amateur cosmologist, but I've read about John's work for many years. He was a revolutionary, and always seemed to find time to explain his work in a way that those of us in the public could understand. My sympathies to his family and friends
John was one of my teachers and part of the committee for my research project and my thesis at the CfA. I didn't get to know him closely, but he was energetic, cheerful, helpful and had a unique way of expressing himself. I could tell that he cared deeply about science and students - not so much about tidy offices. He was also an integral part of the CfA and I'm sure he will be sorely missed by his colleagues there and elsewhere. To his family, my deepest sympathies.
John was always positive: about being an astronomer, a mentor to students and a colleague in research and on committees. He was thrilled with life and his part in it, especially with being a husband to Rebecca and a father to Harry. For his good nature and his infectious enthusiasm as well as his scientific insight and professional wisdom, we will miss John.
I had the pleasure of having dinner with John at the Pasadena AAS meeting. A colleague and I were walking by an outdoor patio when John called over his friend, my colleague, and invited both of us to share his table. John treated me, a complete stranger, a much younger, complete stranger, like a friend and colleague. We talked astronomy and baseball. His genuine interest in what his friends, old and new, were doing is a model of collegiality we should all strive to mimic.
My husband Lee and I will miss seeing him and taking his photo at the American Astronomcial Society meetings. His humor, smile and wicked cool dance moves will be truly missed.
I met John years ago when I worked with him at the MMT. He was a fine man.
This is a very sad news. I met John in late 1970s and we became good friends. We studied the distribution of galaxies, and worked sometimes together, sometimes in parallel. Our Tartu group used galaxy data collected by John, and we thank John for his efforts to make all data available for the whole astronomy community. We miss John and his enthusiasm!
This is very sad news. John was a sensitive and wise member of MIT's Physics Visiting Committee. Over the 8 years he served with us, we came to rely on his calm judgment and perspective - and his commitment to physics and education. We already miss him!
I am so sad to hear this news. I met John Huchra as an undergraduate student when I was at Vassar. He and Bob Kirschner hosted several undergrads at Mt. Hopkins. They taught us a crazy card game from their MIT days and we took spectra of distant galaxies when it was clear enough to do so. He was a very nice guy and we did keep in touch, although infrequently, over the years. I feel honored to have known someone as thoughtful and intelligent as he was. He will be missed by many, I am sure.
I never knew John Huchra, but as a classmate of Harry's I want to express my sympathy to him and the whole family, and to make sure that he knows that now especially, he can count on us all to do anything to possibly help.
I didn't know John personally, but I do attend school with his son. I consider myself to be his friend, and I hope it's mutual. But regardless, I couldn't help but feel extreme sorrow and empathy for Harry and the family's loss when I heard the news. I can't imagine how insurmountably hard it must be, and though nothing can be done right now to heal the pain, I do wish the absolute best for my friend, and for the family of John Huchra during these times.
Having served with John on an MIT Visiting Committee, I was always impressed by his wonderful combination of wisdom and humanity. Indeed, he will be much missed.
George Elbaum (San Francisco, CA)
I met John only briefly at a meeting I was at in Kingston, Ontario a little over a year ago. I had several interesting conversations with him ranging in topic from the American draft during the Vietnam War, his health, his childhood, his time running in college, and mutual friends. As a grad student, I was very surprised to learn soon after we spoke that he was the president of the AAS, a senior professor at Harvard, and a well-known, well-respected researcher who had made many important discoveries, because I can vouch for the fact that many astronomers in senior positions will not take the time to chat at length to a lowly grad student. He made a very strong impression on me and I don't doubt that his family and friends will miss him dearly. Please accept my deepest condolences.
I was shocked and saddened by the news. The last time I met John was at Marc Davis´Fest and he was looking great and very happy. At this sad moment, our thoughts, Rosario and mine, go out to Rebecca and Harry who unfortunately we never met.
My heartfelt sympathy to John's family. I met John through AAS meetings, his friendliness, vibrancy, and warmth made it a pleasure to speak to him and to see him live life to the fullest. He is one of the great astronomers!
My heartfelt condolences to John's wife and son. I met John in Tucson during his observing days at Kitt Peak, and here in Pasadena as a visitor at Caltech's IPAC. I will always remember the sparkle in his eye and the smile on his face when he talked about his little son, Harry. He was a scholar....and indeed, a gentle man.
I am truly saddened to learn of John’s death. He was one of the kindest and most sincere people I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. I worked with him for a brief period of time and had the honor of getting to know this great man. He spoke often of his wife and son. He took pride in their accomplishments. It was clear that he loved them deeply. He also served as a mentor to many students and always made himself available to help others who called upon him for guidance. He truly lived life to the fullest. He will be missed, but the impact that he made on others lives will go on forever.
My sympathy goes out to Harry and the whole family. Our whole school community is saddened by this news.
- Susan Thompson, Theater Program, Commonwealth School
I want you to know what a great honor and privilege it has been to know John for these past 20 years, and especially these last few years when we worked more closely together with the summer students . John was the kindest, most generous person I have known. His door was always open to students. I loved to hear him recount each summer the wonderful story of observational cosmology that his discoveries contributed so much to. How we would all laugh together at coffee as he would tell stories about his many travels, always with that gleam in his eye and marvelous smile, and in spite of his incredibly busy schedule, he always had that ten minutes for me to come to his office to talk about science or plan an observation. As he was to so many of us here, John was my teacher, my mentor, my colleague on the mountain, and my friend. Words can't express how deeply he will be missed.
With deepest sympathy,
What a great privilege and inspiration it has been for me, and for so many of us, to have witnessed John's great wisdom, warmth and talent. His contributions live forever.
I will remember John with joy, both as a colleague and a friend. His wisdom and good humor will be deeply missed by all in our community. Our last few chats at AAS meetings were mostly about kids, with a little astronomy on the side. John was so happy being a father, and recounted parenting escapades with his usual upbeat attitude. Sincerest condolences to his family.
What a great privilege and inspiration it has been for me, and for so many of us, to have witnessed John's great wisdom, warmth and talent. His contributions live forever.
John was a great astronomer, and a very nice human being as well. I remember him from a Thanksgiving in 1989, to which he invited me together with several other young people. For me, a postdoc from the Netherlands, this helped a lot to understand and get used to the American life.
I feel very lucky and honoured to have worked with John. He was always so supportive and encouraging.
With deepest condolences to his family and many friends.
I remember that as a graduate student, John's first few nights of observing were clouded out. He sure made up for it later! I don't know of anyone who spent more nights at the telescope, and he discovered wonderful things, like the Einstein Cross gravitational lens and the Geller-Huchra Great Wall of galaxies. It changed our view of large-scale structure and was very influential for me and my students. He will be missed by our entire community.
This is a terrible loss. Although I never had the opportunity to take a course from John, I knew him as a professor devoted to ensuring that our needs as graduate students, from courses to career development, were being met. In my two most recent conversations with him, John spoke with equal (and great) enthusiasm about the 2010 Astronomy Decadal Survey and about his love of sci-fi movies. What a wonderful man. My prayers are with his family in this sad time.
I went to the donor's meeting at the recent past AAS meeting in Washington DC. I met John and was shocked to learn that he remembered my paper with Beatrice Tensley in the AJ. Now there is a man who studies and remembers the literature! I as also impressed by his confidence in dealing with his employer.
John is one of several successful astronomers I have met and outlived, and it does not seem fair. I would like to think people can earn years when they are bright and work hard. That does not seem to be the case. I hope their hard work does not shorten their lives. And I hope that they were able to play along with their work.
I have lost an astronomer who knew my thoughts before I knew his. I am glad he had people in his life who knew he was a good man.
Many have mentioned the fact that John was a brilliant scientist and superb mentor. He was, above all, a Good Man who'd always find the time for people who needed his help or advice. We will miss him greatly.
What a shock! So many wonderful memories and shared experiences over the years in AURA, AAS and many other areas. But an even greater loss to astronomy: his contributions and devotion to astronomy and astronomers were unparalleled. His was always a voice of reason no matter what the issue. It was a privilege and an honor to have known him.
I am a new friend of John's, having met him for the first time at the Nelson, NH,
community forum less than a month ago. He was a valued contributor to the forum and I looked forward to getting to know him and his family as they integrated into our community. He will be sorely missed by those who have so recently gotten to know him
He was the best Dad that anyone could have had.
My favorite memories of John are when he was "off the record", either at a bar or cooking a meal where the conversation meandered through astronomy, astropolitics, and whatever else was the topic of the day. He was always encouraging, even while providing some criticism, and he played a significant role in helping my career even though I was neither his student nor a student at his home institution. While I am deeply saddened not to be able to have more occasions to chat with him, I am thankful to have had the opportunity at all.
It was quite a shock when I received a call from John’s sister informing me of his passing. We first met in 1965 at an NSF summer program for high school students. Then we ran into each other a year later during rush week as we both started MIT. We quickly dropped out of rush and set out to explore the campus, Cambridge, and Boston before classes started. It was the beginning of a long, close friendship. After MIT, I was at UCLA while John was at Cal Tech. Then back to the East Coast. John was best man at my wedding and godfather to my oldest daughter. Visits became limited when I moved to Oregon in 1980. I last saw him two years ago in Washington, DC for a catching up dinner. He told me of his close call, but seemed as healthy and energetic as ever. He was one of the nicest people I have ever met, and I will miss him greatly.
What a shock -- John was far too young. Among all the other things he did was to help get NED off the ground in its early days; he remained a constant supporter not just during his time as its user committee chairman, but every time we called on him for aid, no matter how small. Personally, I've known him since the 1970's and was pleased to make small contributions to the redshift surveys that he helped create and guide so successfully. But his joy when he married and when his son was born are the memories of John that mean the most to me. My sincere condolences to his wife and son, and to the rest of his family.
I was shocked and saddened to learn last night of the unexpected and all too premature passing of John Huchra. No words can adequately describe the depth of this loss for John’s family and for the astronomical community. John was a brilliant astronomer; his service to the field of American astronomy was second to none. He was a terrific colleague and friend. As I write this I find my thoughts turning to a few of the memorable experiences I shared with him over the past 30 years: going to the Boston opening of Star Wars, hiking the depths of the Grand Canyon and most recently a visit to the Vatican. I will miss him and his sage counsel. I extend my most sincere condolences to his family.
John has been a dear friend and cherished collaborator for almost 30 years. I know that we all share a profound sadness and sense of loss at this terrible time. I take comfort from the realization that having John in my life enriched it more than I can adequately express. Our profession benefited enormously from his leadership. I will always remember his wisdom, kindness and generosity, the depth and breadth of his knowledge, and his unerring integrity.
I haven't seen John in awhile, but I sure miss him. When I was a freshman he was a kind and learned upperclassman I could always talk to. Then he was a friend to play poker/softball/etc with. Now and always he is a fond memory ... but I don't understand ...
I will miss John, at the CfA, on the softball field, and even at the karate school in Lexington, where we'd occasionally see one another. I grieve with you all.
I go way back to Caltech days with John. He was a crazy guy who drove us across Palomar backwards one night because he did not want to turn around. Gone too soon.
I am much saddened by the news, but thankful to have known John during short and longer visits to the CfA in the '90s as a graduate student. I much enjoyed the stories that others have commented on here as well. My sympathies go out to his family.
Thoughts and prayers to you and your family.
Astronomy has lost a great scientist. John was a great advisor, he was a kind but rigorous guide, always encouraging, so good at the telescope. His passion for astronomy was admirable. My deepest condolences to his family. I will miss you John. Con mucho cariño, descansa en paz.
John was an inspiration - not only in his passion for astronomy, but also in the values he lived by and shared with others. He was a great friend and mentor, and I know he will live on through the encouragement, values and knowledge he has given to those who had the pleasure of spending time with him. I am honored to have been a part of his life.
I first met John when visiting Caltech around 1975 and I worked with him on binary galaxies in the early 1980's. In addition to deep insights into observational issues and healthy scepticism about high-falutin theory, he unfailingly brought good humour and common-sense to all aspects of our collaboration. These qualities, together with remarkable integrity and dedication, remained his hallmark over the years as he gradually moved from concentrating on his own science to enabling that of others. Recently, we saw each other less frequently but always with pleasure. It was clear to me not only that he derived deep satisfaction from his exemplary work for our community, but also that his greatest happiness came from the arrival first of Rebecca, then of Harry. This is a sad and premature loss for all of us, but our hearts must go out to them.
I was John's assistant at the CfA for almost six years. He was an incredibly kind man and a real character. I will always remember his stories, his enthusiasm, and his incredible piles of papers and journals. My deepest sympathy to Rebecca and Harry and the rest of the family.
John, thank you so much for taking me under your wing and for never letting me go. I will always remember the little things you did that made such a big difference. Heidi, Cassie and I think fondly of you and your family every time we walk by the little red school house on the Big Sur coast that you loved so much. I suspect I will never stop hoping when I am there that your floppy hat and your toothy grin might appear just beyond the next dune.
I first met John as a graduate student. He was a kind and generous person. I had the pleasure to work with him as a postdoc, I will always admire him, he was a great professional, bright, intelligent, a person who was also aware of the people and community that surrounded him. He will be misssed.
A nice, warm, funny person. A great scientist. We will miss you, John.
Very saddened and shocked to hear of this news today. My very sincere condoleances to Rebecca and her family.
Nicole Lawson (Saint-Gobain)
I will miss John. He was a giant and guide in the field for me. Learning observational astronomy from John was one of my best memories in graduate school. He was always warm and encouraging whether at the telescope or in the classroom. He was a true mensch.
John always said to treat the night like it was your last on the telescope. Those are words I think he lived his life by too.
My deepest condolences to John's family - John took me under his wing some years ago when I was an undergraduate and his warm demeanor combined with his passion for astronomy were among key reasons I ended up in the field myself. Thank you, John, for steering me on this path.
I first met John at the 10:30 coffee at CfA, telling a story about skiing misadventure and then following it up with a story about traveling through Russia, all told with great gusto. He had a passion for life and for science, and I will miss him.
I am very saddened to have lost a colleague and a friend
Sadden to hear this .... my sympathies to Rebecca and the others in the family.
I was deeply saddened by receiving these news this morning. The astronomy community worldwide has lost one of its foremost scientists and leaders, as well as a great human being, and unfortunately far too early. My condolences to his family and to his colleagues, students and friends at CfA.
I am shocked to learn of John's death and still find it difficult to believe that he is with us no more. He was a passionate and highly driven driven astronomer who contributed an enormous amount to our knowledge of galaxies and observational cosmology. But more than that, he was someone who enjoyed life to the full and great fun to work with. He will be missed dearly by the whole international astronomical community.
I remember him when he was exploring infrared extragalactic astronomy with Marc Aaronson and Jeremy Mould. He then contributed to the quest of H0 and to a better knowledge of the infrared sky with 2MASS. Now that he passed away to the other side of the Great Wall, I wish him to rest in peace.
I was shocked to hear the news of John Huchra's passing. John was a marvelous, warm person, a wonderful listener, a great friend. Of course also, a great scientist and leader of our field. No matter how high he rose in the profession, he always was the same person, and maintained a close friendship. I am especially grateful for his devotion to the cause of professional ethics. John's dream was to live to 100, to see his grandchildren; how he loved life! This is so unjust... and not to have the chance to say goodbye. In John's memory, I shall treasure and make the most of every day of my life. Goodnight, sweet prince. May flights of galaxies sing thee to thy rest.
I was fortunate to have two "astronomical parents" - Margaret Geller and John Huchra. They taught me how to be a real scientist, how to do research, how to express an early idea and turn it from a spark into new knowledge. I met John in 1981 and all of us graduate students were infected with his enthusiasm for discovery and impressed with his skills an an observer. But must of all, I was impressed with John's generosity and warmth. I never saw him behave spitefully or with malice towards anyone. That was one of the most important things I learned from John - that you can succeed at science and still be a mensh. How will I cope without him? My father once said "Children are the living messages we send to a time we will not see." I am one of John's living "astronomical" messages and his spirit and his joy of science and of life will live on in me and all of us who knew and admired him. I only wish he had more time. Rest in peace, my friend and teacher.
The John I knew was a man of boundless optimism -- a proud father, a warm host, generous to a fault, and committed to his work. He lived his life with unflagging intensity and passion and good humor. And he cut a fine figure in a kilt.
Just two weeks ago, the Harvard astronomy graduate students had lunch with him. It was a very memorable lunch, but in particular, I remember his eyes lighting up as he reflected on how proud he felt to make a difference in national space programs and missions, more proud than he had ever felt following his personal research interests. He encouraged us to stay passionate about what we do with our lives, even if that means changing gears during our careers. This piece of advice resonated with me then, and will for the rest of my life. My heart goes out to his family, it was a privilege to have known him.
It was a delight to get to know John through our work on the astrophysics subcommittee at NASA the past few years. I wish I could have been one of his students. His energy, love of astronomy and ability to communicate "the important things" was stellar. I learned so much form him, despite only knowing him a short time. He will be missed. He served our astronomy community so much with all his AAS, Decadal, etc. activities. He will be missed. -Kimberly Ennico, NASA Ames, Moffett Field, CA
John was a wonderful friend and apartment mate during the two years that we knew each other at Caltech. Somehow he survived my first attempts at cooking, as he was much more adept in the kitchen than I. Most weekends you could find him at Mt. Palomar with the 18-inch Schmidt on supernova patrol. One night, he imaged 1685 Toro for me using the 48-inch Schmidt so that I could pursue my research on Apollo asteroids. John was a special fellow whom I will miss greatly, and he will live in my memories always. As surely as his family and friends love him, John is in God's good hands.
My deepest sympathy to John's family, and to all who knew and loved him. I spent a wonderful week working with John this past summer, and was touched by his warmth and generosity. I'll miss him very much.
We cherish, those memories,
some fleeting, yet powerful; sweet
they bring a smile, by definition!
Too soon, John, these whippersnappers will never forgive.
Striving yet, to achieve, to deem worthy
in fond remembrance of all you have taught
a bit of you remains alive
in all our hearts
and through us, in
those to come
I knew John back in our dorm at MIT. My remembrances are of his humor, his very sharp mind, and his ability to clearly articulate on many topics as well as astronomy. Many will miss him, and aside that it has been 40 years, I am one of them.
Thank you John for all that you shared: your kindness, your wonderful stories, your good humor, your knowledge, and your wisdom. As students we had so much to learn from you, and yet your generous nature always made us feel valued. Our loss is deep, and you will be missed, but those of us who knew you as a mentor will never stop learning from you.
It is with profound sadness that I've heard this news. I had the privilege of working with John Huchra as a member of AURA's BoD, and always admired the broad and in-depth vision he had of the astronomical community and its possible future directions. This is a great loss for us all.
Shocked and saddened to hear this news. A great loss.
Way too soon... John had so much more to give to astronomy and to enriching the lives of those lucky to have known him. A man of humor, grace, and humility - yes, humility - who always seemed to have time to talk with you (not just _to_ you).
I am deeply thankful for are the many gifts that John shared with us. In this short space I mention just a few from my days as a graduate student: his generosity (recall this Thanksgiving dinners for "orphans"), his encouragement (he always made me feel that I could and should tackle a problem), his deep knowledge of Astronomy (he really, really loved playing "photon cowboy" at Mt. Hopkins!), and his love of the outdoors (recall day trips to hike Mt. Washington). And, of course, his sage advice and Huchra-isms. John will be deeply missed as a mentor, a colleague, and a friend.
John was always so welcoming and kind whenever and wherever our paths crossed, one would think he had nothing more important to do. Hard to imagine the next meeting without his cheerful smile.
I was very shocked and sad to hear of John's passing. Not only was he a great professor, he was a real go-getter for the students in the department. I just don't know how we will survive without his positive energy and great spirit. We will miss you.
John was a great scientist, a kind person, and a true statesman of science. He was driven by a genuine intellectual curiosity and a desire to do good things, and (unlike so many) not by a huge ego and a desire to show off. He was quite simply, a really nice guy. And a very good friend. He will be genuinely missed by many of us.
Thank you John for all your help and advice. We will miss you.
John's passion for exploring the Universe was a tremendous inspiration. He simply loved doing what he was doing, and his wonderful sense of humor made him a delight to just kick back with. I will miss his friendship...
John Huchra was always a friend to those of us who loved telescopes. Just last spring, he took the time to train the STudent Astronomers at Harvard Radcliffe (STAHR) to use the beautiful and historic Clark telescope on the roof of the CfA. He gave us a lovely course, laughing and joking all the while. I have rarely seen professional astronomers with so much passion for looking at the night sky the good old-fashioned way. I think I can speak for all of STAHR when I say we will miss him very much.
Thank you John for being there - From the time you had me over for Thanksgiving in my first year of graduate school, through Dinner in Aspen - You have been a great friend, and mentor. Your wonderful outlook on life will remain forever an inspiration to me.
Every time I would see John at CfA he was happy and smiling. While his amazing discoveries and work will be remembered, his kindness will be remembered the most.
John has been a strength in the astronomical community for years, both as a scientific researcher and a policy leader. I am grateful for what I have learned from him throughout my career, from using his early Seyfert galaxy lists to his service in the American Astronomical Society and the decadal survey. I am privileged to have known him, and share the sense of loss with his family and his many colleagues in the community.
Very sad news. John Huchra was a true pioneer of mapping and exploring the local universe.
I have learned from him a lot in our collaborative projects. He inspired both senior and junior colleagues.
John gave me more than once valuable personal advice. My sincere condolences to his wife and son.
I'm so sorry to hear this! I worked closely with John years ago on the AAS Publications Board. He was a really creative thinker in both his research and on practical matters such as the care and feeding of research journals. My sympathy goes out to his family and friends.
We were shocked and saddened by the sudden passing of John, he was a friend and his loss is tragic. The astronomical community has lost a leader whose contribution to the field will remain a legacy and inspiration to us all. John's friendship will be deeply missed. He was incredibly helpful and supportive, and he never lacked for ideas or advice. His optimism and generosity of spirit infected all who knew him. We will miss him greatly.
Kathy Flanagan and Steve Murray
John was one of the kindest people I have ever known. I owe much of what I value in my life to his unfailing support and guidance. He showed his students that it was possible to be an ambitious, hard-working scientist (and, in his case, a great one), while simultaneously living a life as a devoted husband, parent, and friend to many. He not only taught me how to use a telescope and to understand the data, but also that canoeing is fun, that even nerds can dance well, and that as a weak-stomached, beer-hater I should never again drink beer to celebrate after a night of observing. He never lost his passion for new things: the favorite music of his graduate students, the latest detector or reduction technique, the next astronomically big astronomical project. No matter what new work challenge he took on, he always made time for people. He was unique and irreplaceable, and I can only hope to honor his legacy in my work with my own students. John, you will be deeply missed.
At short notice, John flew to Rome at the end of last October and gave the special lecture in the Pontifical Academy of Sciences on the occasion of the celebration of the International Year of Astronomy in the Vatican. All this was accompanied by his usual enthusiasm and humor - typical John - which is why his memory will be so cherished.
Working closely with John on both AAS business and in the context of the Decadal Survey was a pleasure and a privilege. I had known John for a long time, but it was in these contexts that I really came to understand the depth of the energy, flair, wisdom and common sense he brought to all his undertakings, in both science and science policy. I vividly recall a recent conversation where we discovered to our mutual amusement that we had both been chair of social committees as undergraduates at MIT. His passing is a shocking blow to his friends, colleagues, and the astronomical community at large.
What a terrible shock! This is so sad! John was such a wonderful colleague and somebody whom one could ALWAYS count on. I first got to know John when he was a graduate student of Wal's at Caltech. He was just always such fun to be with and he was such a powerful force in astronomy it is very hard to grasp this tragedy.
I'm deeply saddened by the news. I will always treasure the memories of John's humor and kindness, and of the cloudy nights spent listening to his stories and advice (and losing countless card games). He will be greatly missed.
John has been such a good friend to so many, with his warm chuckle and his incredible enthusiasm. His love for astronomy will live on in all the young people he has mentored so generously, including myself.
I am very glad to have known John. He was always extremely supportive to me and to all students.
Despite the sadness of the occasion, I can't help smiling when I think of John. Because that's the reaction that he always inspired. From our first encounters, sharing the night lunch kitchen at Mt. Wilson, to our recent work on the Astro 2010 survey, John always added fun to hard work. "By definition", we have lost a great one.
I am a little too stunned to write anything, When I passed John at work Friday(?!). I wasn't think about the great scientist, my thoughts were immediately put hope for the next baseball season. While I never even worked in the dame field, we was always helpful and encouraging. I will miss him.
What a shock that John has left us so soon. John will be remembered as the astronomer who single-handedly measured more galaxy redshifts --- one-at-a-time than any other person has or probably every will. But beyond his superb dedication to astronomy, he was a deep thinker and brought many important ideas to the field. He was an inspiration to all of us and I will miss his personal warmth.
John was always full of humor with a challenging mind. I remember him well from his early days at Conner 3. A love of science fiction and softball, long before he gazed to the stars. We'll miss you.
I am filled with sadness knowing that John has passed away. I admired him and appreciated his honesty. He was a passionate scientist and a brilliant mentor for me at Harvard. His words of wise counsel became part of my career guidance system, and I am forever grateful. I offer my sincerest sympathy to his family.
John was passionate about astronomy and life, full of energy and ideas. His research and his AAS and Decadal Survey visions are a legacy for us all. I will deeply miss his sage advice as AAS past president. It was an honor and a privilege to work and laugh with him. I cannot yet grasp this devastating news, except to know there’s now a great void and profound sadness.
Although we worked closely together on the Astro2010 Decadal Survey, I've known John since I was an undergraduate, when his research inspired several summer jobs I held at the CfA. I noticed then, and continued to observe over the decades, that he cared deeply -- investing time, talent, energy, and emotion -- in students, faculty, research, departments, and institutions. John's character was not only unique among astrophysicists, but likely unique to society as well.
I'm very saddened by the news, but count myself very fortunate to have known John. Great scientist and educator, steadfast friend, good man. He touched a lot of lives for the better, and his legacy will continue.
That rarest of combinations: a great scientist and a lovely man. I am honoured to have known him.
Anyone who knew John will miss his dry wit and endless supply of stories. His students and colleagues will miss his passion for astronomy and for the well-being of our community. Our lives will be much less rich without him.
I will always remember John as a devoted father, husband and friend. May the legacy of his scientific contributions as well as his boundless love of family and friends never be forgotten. With deepest sympathy.
John was a dynamo who did so much for astronomy and his many, many collaborators. A very sad loss.
I am deeply saddened by this news. It was an honor to work with John on the Decadal Survey and in the AAS. His death is a profoundly tragic loss for the astronomical community. My heart goes out to all of his family and friends.
John was a very positive colleague who respected people's opinions and worked hard to include all. I recall his activities from IUE observations to ground-based and Hubble. He was always there to share good science and good times.
I was sad to hear this news. John Huchra has been an inspiration in my science research and career. I am sure I was not the only astronomer he inspired.
I have no idea what to say. John was one of the great observational astronomers of the 20th century who also selflessly worked hard for the betterment of astronomy through many committees and the AAS. His work on galaxy motions and large scale structure with Margaret Geller, which revealed the flocculant structure of the Universe, was a masterpiece of observational science. I observed with him on the z-machine, and it was a joy to work with him. Damn I will miss him.
John was a good friend and one of my first mentors as I started my career in astronomy. I will fondly remember all the good times we shared, working together at the telescope, playing together in the office bowling league, and many others. Condolences to his family; he will be dearly missed by a great many whose lives he enriched.
I will always treasure John's warmth, wisdom and humor. He was a superb scientist who gave so much to younger people and to the astronomy community.
With deep sympathy to his family on their loss
This news comes as a terrible shock, personal and professional. My heart goes out to all who know him and care for him.
I was greatly saddened to hear the news. John was a mentor to me when I was a grad student, a close collaborator and a great friend. I valued him for his deep scientific experience and insight and his wonderful integrity and sense of proportion. I will miss him deeply.
Goodbye, dear John, and deepest condolences to your family. Thank
you for your friendship over all
I was shocked and saddened to hear of John's death. I'm attending a meeting at Caltech, and it's the only time I can remember holding a minute of silence for a colleague, and John certainly deserved it.
Astronomy has lost a champion; we have lost a friend.
We not only mourn the loss of a wonderful colleague, but also of an incredibly generous and good man, who kept trying to make things better, and put his time, thought and encouragement towards helping many many people in so many ways. We wish sympathy especially to his family whose loss is so much more than ours.
Joanne Cohn, Alex White & Martin White (Berkeley, CA)
It's the twinkle in John's eye that I will remember and miss. He was ever helpful to all who asked.
John was not just an outstanding scientist, he was a warm and funny guy and an all-around remarkable guy - in particular, very supportive to younger scientists. Thank you John for your encouragement over the years.
John was so full of energy and ideas. It is hard to believe he is gone. We have lost a wonderful colleague, astronomy has lost a leader. Condolences to the family.
John was the most generous person I have ever known. I have many fond memories and I am proud to have been able to call him my friend. With all sympathy...
To John, a good colleague and a friend. His humor and forthright comments will be missed
I worked with John on and off from my very first project at the NRC 10 years ago. John's dedication to the U.S. community of astronomers and his passion for science was second to none. For much of the last 2.5 years I worked with him on the astronomy and astrophysics decadal survey and his critical contribution to that study will stand as a lasting legacy along with all his public policy work over the years. I was honored to work with him and have lost a good colleague and friend today.
I will always treasure the memory of (1) John as the chair of the Board on Physics and Astronomy (2) the bottle of Brunello di Montalcino that he presented to me on behalf of BPA astronomers on my 60th birthday in 2002.