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Ronald Greeley

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Ronald Greeley Obituary
Greeley, Ronald
72, passed away unexpectedly in his Tempe, Arizona home on October 27, 2011. Ron was born in Columbus, Ohio, and was the son of the late Edward Thomas and Elizabeth Graf Greeley. He is survived by his high school sweetheart and wife of 51 years, Cynthia (Cindy) Moody Greeley, his son Randall (Lidiette) Greeley of Mesa, AZ and grandchildren Thomas Greeley of Mesa, Rebecca (Houston) Tanner of Provo, Utah, and Jennifer Greeley of Mesa. He is preceded in death by daughter Vanessa Greeley. He is also survived by two brothers, Tom (Ruth) Greeley of Mobile, AL and Dennis (Gail) Greeley of Chandler, AZ and their families. Ron graduated from high school in Gulfport, MS, received his undergraduate and graduate degrees in geology from Mississippi State University, and his doctorate from the University of Missouri at Rolla. Ron was a planetary geologist and Regents' Professor at Arizona State University. He has been involved in lunar and planetary missions since 1967 when he worked at NASA's Ames Research Center in preparation for the Apollo missions to the Moon. His research in planetary geology has contributed significantly to our understanding of planetary bodies within our solar system. Ron began teaching at ASU in 1977 with a joint professorship in the Department of Geology and the Center for Meteorite Studies. He served as Department Chair and later as Interim Director during the establishment of the School of Earth and Space Exploration at ASU. He was a pioneer in the planetary geology field, served as the director of the NASA-ASU Regional Planetary Image Facility and principal investigator of the Planetary Aeolian Laboratory at NASA-Ames Research Center. He served on and chaired many NASA and National Academy of Science panels and he was involved in nearly every major space probe mission flown in the solar system since the Apollo Moon landings. Mission projects included the Galileo mission to Jupiter, Viking lander mission to Mars, Mars Pathfinder mission, Mars Global Surveyor, the Mars Exploration Rovers, and the European Mars Express mission. He was an an Alumni Fellow of Mississippi State University, an Overseas Fellow, Churchill College, Cambridge University, England and a Research Fellow of the University of London Observatory, London, England. Ron enjoyed leading geological field trips, particularly in the areas of wind-blown sand and volcanoes. He left a wonderful legacy in the form of his students, many of whom have become leaders themselves in the field of planetary geology. Ron always enjoyed the outdoors and loved camping, canoeing, white-water rafting and travelling with his family. A celebration of Ron's life will be held on Monday, November 7, at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, 2707 S. College Ave., Tempe, AZ 85282 (corner of College and Alameda). All are welcome. Visitation is 2:30 to 3:45 with the memorial service beginning at 4:00 pm. Interment will be in Gulfport, MS at a later date. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorial donations to the ASU Foundation for the Ronald Greeley Memorial Endowment, c/o the School of Earth and Space Exploration, PO Box 871404, ASU, Tempe, AZ 85287-1404. Arrangements are being held under the direction of Carr Tenney Mortuary,, in Tempe, Arizona

Published in The Arizona Republic on Nov. 2, 2011
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