Albert Julius "Bert" Semtner Jr.
1941 - 2018
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Albert "Bert" Julius Semtner, Jr.
May 25, 1941 - December 15, 2018
Albert "Bert" Julius Semtner, Jr. passed away in Carmel, California on December 15, 2018 at the age of 77.
Bert was born on May 25, 1941 in Oklahoma City, OK to Albert J. Semtner and Dorothy K. Erler. He graduated from Jesuit High School in Dallas, Texas as Class Valedictorian in 1959.  He went on to earn a bachelor's degree in mathematics from the California Institute of Technology in 1963, a master's degree in mathematics from the University of California, Los Angeles in 1968 and a Ph.D. in Geophysical Fluid Dynamics from Princeton University in 1973. He also served in the NOAA Commissioned Officer Corps, attaining the rank of Lt. Commander.  Dr. Semtner had a distinguished academic and scientific research career, first as a faculty member in the Department of Meteorology at UCLA, then as a research oceanographer at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado starting in 1976, and finally as Professor of Oceanography at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California from 1986 until his retirement in 2005.
He held the title of Professor Emeritus through the remainder of his life.  Bert was a pioneer in the utilization of state of the art computing systems coupled with his keen physical insight to advance our understanding of the role of the world's oceans in both maintaining and perturbing the earth's climate system. He regularly made himself available as a mentor to several generations of students and young scientists.  He also was constantly pursued to serve on a variety of review and advisory panels.  His leadership and accomplishments were acknowledged by an impressive array of awards and honors, including the Smithsonian Leadership Award in Breakthrough Computational Science in 1993, which he won in collaboration with his great friend Bob Chervin. Bert had an impact on many and will be forgotten by few. 
When not working, Bert enjoyed traveling and being outdoors, especially hiking, mountaineering and finding his way to ocean vistas. He was very proud of his children Eric and Katy and loved to talk about their accomplishments. During his retirement years, he enjoyed spending time with his wife Jolene and their ever-growing collection of dogs and cats. They loved to travel and hike together and participated in canine search and rescue work on the beautiful Monterey Peninsula. They also spent time in Winner, South Dakota where they maintained their second home.
Bert is survived by his wife Jolene Semtner of Carmel, CA, by his son Eric (Jean) Semtner of San Diego, CA and his daughter Katy (Carlos) Semtner of Oklahoma City, OK from his marriage to Linda Mattson (now Rhines). He is also survived by three grandchildren, Scott and Kelly Semtner and Mia Herrera and by his sister Mary Lou Cozzens of Oklahoma City, OK.
A memorial service will be held on January 12, 2019 at 2:00pm at Church of the Wayfarer in Carmel-by-the-Sea, CA. Arrangements are being handled by Bermudez Family Cremations and Funerals in Monterey. The family suggests that any memorial contributions be sent to Sapa Un Catholic Academy at Saint Francis Mission in Rosebud, South Dakota ( which was a favorite charity of Bert's.
Condolences may be written to the family at

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Published in Monterey Herald Obits on Dec. 30, 2018.
Memorial service
02:00 PM
Church of the Wayfarer
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Memories & Condolences
Guest Book sponsored by Monterey Herald
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5 entries
January 13, 2019
So sorry for you loss Joylene, Eric, Katy and family. Roy Semtner
January 5, 2019
I'm Sad to Read this
When Albert came into My Salon about 6 weeks Ago for his Hair Cut I saw that he was Not Doing Well.
I will Miss His Smile, Gentle Spirit And All the Intresting Conversations we Had...Such a Smart Man
Sorry To All who knew and Loved Him.
Prayers Sent to You and Your Family...
From: Joyce Porter
January 3, 2019
Jolene and the Semtner family,

So sorry about your loss. For Bert's work family here at NPS, we lost regular contact with him a few years ago. Signs of his many, positive impacts exist in our hallways, however. Bert was a leader here and worldwide in what he did. Among his impacts was the launching of the very successful careers of his mentees who continue to influence our work every day. Bert was generally quite, but I remember his smile well and fondly. Somehow he was able to parlay his stoicism, his smile, and his genius to move the world around. There have not been many like him.
Jeff Paduan
January 2, 2019
May God bless you and your family in this time of sorrow.
Pete and Fran Cirone
December 31, 2018
So sorry for your loss. May God's promise found at John 6:40, of the hope to see our loved ones again, comfort your heart and give you peace, strength, and hope in the days ahead.
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