DAVID GATES
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GATES--David Murray,

physicist and ecologist, professor emeritus of biology, University of Michigan, died at age 94 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. His loving wife, and lifelong partner, Marian Penley Gates passed away in 2006. They enjoyed many activities together for over 70 years. They were married for 61 years. Dr. Gates was born in Manhattan, Kansas, on May 27, 1921. He was the adopted son of Frank C. and Margaret T. Gates. David received his B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees in physics from the University of Michigan. His childhood was spent in Kansas and Michigan where his father was a distinguished plant ecologist with Kansas State University, with summers at the University of Michigan Biological Station. The family traveled all of the contiguous states during the 1920s and 30s. As a teenager David became an Eagle Scout with bronze, gold, and silver palms. During World War II he worked on the performance of the proximity fuse at University of Michigan and John Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory. He married Marian Francis Penley, his childhood sweetheart, June 3, 1944. Dr. Gates became associate professor of physics at the University of Denver from 1947 to 1955 where he worked on the radiation properties of the atmosphere and climate. In 1955-57 David and Marian were in London, England where David became liaison officer and director of the London Branch of the Office of Naval Research with the American Embassy. He exchanged scientific information with scientists throughout Western Europe. From 1957-64 he was consultant to the director and assistant chief of the Upper Atmosphere and Space Physics Division, Boulder Laboratories, National Bureau of Standards. He was head of the National Bureau of Statistics International Geophysical Year Program from 57-58. He held a University of Colorado professorship of natural history in 1964-65. During this period he established the discipline of biophysical ecology. In 1965 he left his beloved Colorado to become director of the Missouri Botanical Garden and professor of botany at Washington University, St. Louis, MO. He trained advanced students in biophysical ecology and simultaneously became an outspoken environmentalist. He was among the first to be concerned about greenhouse warming. He was particularly proud of having served as an advisor to the commissioner of the U.S. Public Health Service establishing criteria for the Clean Air Act passed by Congress. In 1971 Dr. Gates became professor of botany and director of the Biological Station, University of Michigan. He modernized the course program, raised funds for research, and private support for new buildings. He was particularly proud of the Andrew Mellon Foundation grant to support undergraduate, graduate, and post doctoral students working together to receive training as naturalists and ecologists. David was a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Explorer's Club, New York, and the Optical Society of America. He received the Gold Medal for Accomplishments in the Field of Ecology, National Council of State Garden Clubs, the Distinguished Faculty Award, University of Michigan, and the Henry Shaw Medal, Missouri Botanical Gardens. From the early 70s - 90s, David served on the boards of the National Science Foundation, the Conservation Foundation and World Wildlife Fund, National Audubon Society, L.S.B. Leakey Foundation, the Cranbrook Institute of Science and others. He was the national president of the American Institute of Biological Sciences. He served on the Board of Directors, Detroit Edison Corporation, Harland Bartholomew and Associates, and was the consulting corporate ecologist to General Motors Corporation. He was Distinguished Visiting Scientist, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Chairman of the Environmental Science Board, National Academy of Sciences and a member of the Panel on Science and Technology, Committee on Science and Astronautics, U.S. House of Representatives. Dr. Gates published more than fifty research papers and six books, including the definitive original text Biophysical Ecology. In the last years of his life he was honored when a new algal diatom species was named after him: Brachysira gatesii. David enjoyed sailing, alpine skiing, and traveling the world, including the South Pole, the far-north Arctic, all 50 states, and 55 countries. He visited the Ice Island T3 in the Arctic Ocean and the volcanic island, Surtsey, off Iceland. David is survived by his four loving children: Murray Penley Gates of Clio, MI, Julie Mary Gates of Pagosa Springs, CO, Heather Margaret Gates of Wilbraham, MA, and Marilyn Joan Gates of Subic Bay, Philippines. He leaves four grandchildren whom he adored: Colin and Myles Harnsgate, and Sarah Elise and Walker Field. Memorials in his name may be made to the University of Michigan Biological Station for the Marian P. and David M. Gates Scholarship for Non-Residents. A celebration of his life will be held at the University of Michigan Biological Station in July.


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Published in New York Times on Mar. 8, 2016.
Memories & Condolences
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12 entries
April 12, 2016
A lifetime friend of my father, John M Parker. I skied with David and my father and showed his children how to dissect frogs.
Becky Parker Douglass
March 15, 2016
Dr. David Gates Family- Sorry to hear of your loss. He was a very special person. I remember doing all of his oil changes when he was at Douglas Lake in levering @ Williams Marathon. I know He is in a Great Place now! Mike Ermish
Mike Ermish
March 15, 2016
This paper was a big influence on me becoming a plant physiological ecologist: Gates, D.M. "Heat transfer in plants." Scientific American 213.6 (1965): 76-84. I still make all of my students, including undergraduates in my Plant Ecology class read this classic.
Richard Thomas
March 14, 2016
David was my first "boss" at UMBS when I joined the staff in 1984. I always admired his intellect, quick wit, and devotion to science. But I discovered another facet of his character when I decided to adopt an infant from Guatemala. After David learned of my plans, we had several long talks about adoption and parenting. I will never forget his encouragement and counsel early in the process, nor the depth of his sympathy and understanding when the baby was diagnosed with cerebral palsy and the adoption had to be terminated. While I greatly value all that David contributed to the field of science and to the development of our beloved Bug Camp, what I treasure most are his gifts of wisdom and compassion during a watershed event in my life.
Mary Whitmore
March 12, 2016
Dear Murray, Julie, Heather and Marilyn,
so sorry to hear of your dad's death. My condolences to all of you. Your dad and I used to play tennis almost every morning when I was a postdoc with him at the Missouri Botanical Garden. Those were two wonderful years that changed my life forever. He was a great teacher and researcher and visionary. Would like to make that memorial service for him in July if possible. Please let me know your plans. My email address is: wpporter@wisc.edu. If you would rather call, my cell is: 608-335-0798.
With very best wishes,
Warren Porter
Warren Porter
March 11, 2016
My deepest condolences to the family. David was a wonderful man. My thoughts and prayers are with all of the family.
Danielle
March 11, 2016
Heather

Deepest sympathies to you and your family. Your father was indeed a giant.

Duncan
March 9, 2016
So sorry to learn of David's death. His family and mine have a long Douglas Lake connection. I remember the many visits with him at our North Fishtail Bay cabins.
Gail Dolton Blaskowski
March 8, 2016
My deepest condolences to the family. Losing a loved one is a hard thing to deal with. There is little that I can say or do to ease your pain or suffering. Please lean on God for comfort during this most difficult time because not only does he understands your grief and pain, He cares for you. (1 Peter 5:6,7)
A J
March 8, 2016
David became a friend and valued advisor after I became Director of the University of Michigan Biological Station and Professor in the UM Dept. of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology in 2003. I was fortunate to know him and will miss him always.
Knute Nadelhoffer
March 8, 2016
Please accept my symphaty for the entire family, know that you can throw all your anxiety on God because he cares for you, 1 Peter 5:6,7. ~ CHICAGO.
March 7, 2016
We are so sorry to learn of David's passing. He was a special person and leader. His leadership at the U of Michigan's Bio Station is the foundation of its excellence today. He will be missed by all who knew him. Our condolences to his entire family. Our prayers are with you all in this time of sorrow. Dave and Carol Cole
David Cole
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