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Harold Daw

Harold Albert Daw was born Oct. 25, 1925, in Granger, Utah, to Albert W. and Helen Rebecca Bawden Daw. He grew up in Holladay and South Cottonwood on a dairy farm. As a young man, he was involved in Scouting and earned his Eagle Scout Award. He continued this interest in Scouting throughout his life. He attended Granite High School and soon after graduation, was drafted into the U.S. Army in January of 1944. After a variety of experiences in Georgia, Kansas, North Carolina and California, he was discharged from Fort Douglas, Utah, in 1946. He had completed a number of correspondence courses during his military time and went right back to school at the University of Utah. He completed his bachelor's degree in physics with high honors. He was called to missionary service for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1948. He went to Nova Scotia and Newfoundland, where he labored "without purse or script," carrying all he had in a little green suitcase and sleeping in barns or wherever he could find during the summer months. When he finished his mission, it was back to school again. He completed his master's degree in 1952. In the fall of that year, his sister set him up on a blind date with a lovely girl from Draper, Utah, Mary Garfield. He was swept off his feet. He convinced her to marry him and in February of 1953 they were married in the Salt Lake Temple for the adventure of a lifetime. Immediately, they got on the train and headed to Baltimore, Md., where Harold was completing research for his doctoral degree in physics. After completion of his research, he needed a job. There were several openings for an assistant professor of physics. He and Mary decided upon the job in New Mexico, because New Mexico touched Utah - so it must be close. I guess they never saw a map, because Las Cruces is about as far away from Draper and Murray, Utah, as you can get and still be in New Mexico. Las Cruces turned out to be a wonderful place to raise a family. The best people in the world lived there. And New Mexico State University would become Harold's love. He loved teaching physics all his life. He was awarded the Millikan Award by the American Association of Physics Teachers in 1975 for creative teaching of physics. He was also awarded the Distinguished Service Citation by the AAPT. He became a full professor and then physics department head. As department head, he secured the funding of the research addition to the physics building, built a solid graduate and research program and hired a number of the physics faculty. He was acting dean of Arts and Sciences and dean, as well. He served as associate vice president of the University where he presided over the University's research program. Under his watch, NMSU became a Research 1 University. Almost anywhere you go on campus, you can see results of his tenure in this office. He was instrumental in the selection of centers of excellence (genetic engineering and computing) and in the subsequent funding of the Plant Genetic Engineering Laboratory and the Computer Research Laboratory. He received several awards for inventions throughout his career. He invented the air table for friction experiments that would later become the Air Hockey game. As children, we enjoyed the dancing flames of the flame table and flame tube, watching the collisions on the air table, the smoke rings from the "bull in a box," trying out the huge ride-on gyroscope and swimming in the cattle tank he acquired to create a motion room. He retired in 1990, but continued to invent and publish and teach physics the rest of his life. Mary and Harold had eight children, raising seven to maturity. Glen (Kayrene) is a physicist. Michael (Sandy) was a computer programmer, he and his wife are both deceased. Kimberly (Dave Zabriskie) is a mother. Anthony (Annette) is a chemist. Marshall (Heidie) is a CPA. Rachel (Jim Dransfield) is a mother. Ramona (Jeff Pomeroy) is a mother and a physicist! Harold and Mary have 30 grandchildren and 14 great grandchildren, with more coming. He was an active member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints all of his life. He spent his time in service to his fellowmen. He was bishop of the Las Cruces 2nd ward for nine years. When the Las Cruces Stake was created, he served as its first stake president for 10 years. He and Mary served two missions together: the first in Peterborough, N.H., where they strengthened the saints and assisted the young missionaries. Their second mission was to the Oakland Visitor's Center in Oakland, Calif. He is an ordained patriarch in the church. He received the Silver Beaver award for his continued work in Scouting. He was a longtime member of the Sun Country de Las Cruces Kiwanis Club. He passed away on March 15, 2014, after a sudden and brief illness. He would say to all he meets – it is even his phone greeting - "Welcome to the wonderful world of Physics." To his family, "Keep the Faith." To his wife, "I love you and will see you soon." To all, "Come unto Christ and be perfected in Him." There will be a viewing Tuesday evening from 6-8 p.m. at the Londonderry Chapel , 11164 South Londonderry Drive (1520 East) in Sandy, Utah. There will be a viewing this morning, March 19, from 9:30-10:30 preceding the funeral, which will begin at 11 a.m. at the same location. If you would like to, we invite you to wear a bow tie in Harold's honor.
Published in Las Cruces Sun-News on Mar. 19, 2014
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