GEORGE WALLERSTEIN
1930 - 2021
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WALLERSTEIN--George. 1930-2021. George Wallerstein was born on the Upper West Side of Manhattan in 1930, the youngest child of Leo and Dorothy Calman Wallerstein. His two older sisters Dorothy Marx and Alice Silton made a hobby of teasing their younger brother. His father was a brewing chemist who had many patents, including one for the popular children's drink Bosco. He remembered fondly his childhood companion Larry, an Irish setter. George attended Horace Mann School in the Bronx. There is now a chemistry lab at Horace Mann, which bears the names of Leo and George Wallerstein. He attended Brown University, graduating with a degree in Physics in 1951. George was in Naval ROTC at Brown so he served as a junior officer on ship during the Korean War. In 1953 he was accepted for graduate work by the Astronomy Department at the California Institute of Technology. He received his Ph.D. in 1958 and joined the faculty at the University of California Berkeley. George came to study astronomy at an exciting time. It was the era when the life cycles of stars were just starting to be understood. His research was focused on abundances of chemical elements in stars and how variations in amounts of chemical elements from star-to-star might have been produced. In 1965 the University of Washington invited George to be the Chair of the Astronomy Department, a position that he occupied until 1980. He spent the rest of his career at UW, retiring in 1998. During his time as Chair the department enjoyed great expansion and the start of a Ph.D. degree in astronomy. Over the years, he did research at many institutions and observatories, including the National Radio Astronomy Observatory and Cerro Tololo Interamerican Observatory. He advised 12 graduate students for their Ph.D. theses. Over the years a steady stream of Postdoctoral Fellows started their careers with financial support and mentorship from George. In 2000 he was awarded the American Astronomical Society's Henry Norris Russell Prize for a lifetime of distinguished research. He was elected a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and received an honorary degree from Tougaloo College. George almost became a glaciologist or a meteorologist. He spent three months on the Greenland Ice Cap in 1955. He loved meteorology and taught the basic meteorology course at UW several times. He also won the weather prediction contest in the UW Department of Atmospheric Sciences several times, much to the chagrin of the professors in the department. George was also a distinguished mountaineer, with many first ascents in California, Alaska, the Yukon and East Greenland. Among his favorite trips were a first ascent of Mount McArthur and a stint as a "negatively paid Sherpa" in support of an expedition to K2. He was a long-time member of the American and Canadian Mountain Clubs, the Explorer Club and was honored as a Pioneer of the St. Elias. George was a philanthropist. He supported organizations such as the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, the United Negro College Fund, the Harlem Education Action Fund and several HBCUs. George played baseball until the age of 75. He enjoyed classical music and opera. He devoured books, particularly on the subjects of history, mountaineering and polar exploration. He will be greatly missed by his wife of 23 years Julie Lutz, his family and all who knew him. His sister Dorothy Marx, aged 97 survives him. Family who mourn his passing include his step-daughters Melissa Blouin and Clea Hupp and their respective spouses Curt Eichel and Robert Hupp, step-grandkids Emile Blouin and his wife Kelly Powers, Jordan Bunch and his wife Sarah Ho, Ariel Bunch, Dillon Hupp, William Hupp and Spencer Hupp. His niece Mary Moran and nephews Robert Silton, and his partner Donald Hough, Steve Elgar and his wife Britt Raubenheimer, and Michael Elgar and his wife Elizabeth will miss George's warmth and humor, as will his numerous grandnieces and nephews and several great-grand nephews. In lieu of flowers, please consider making a contribution to the George Wallerstein Graduate Student Fund in the Astronomy Department at the University of Washington. www.washington.edu/giving/make-a-gift/?source_typ=3& source=AGSEND. A memorial service will be scheduled at a later date.



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Published in New York Times on May 23, 2021.
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June 8, 2021
I served on the Brown Tougaloo Partnership Committee with George. He was always enthusiastic about the relationship between the two institutions. I remember several enjoyable sessions with him at Brown, and Tougaloo. He was always interested in what you were doing and enjoyed participating in the Brown -Tougaloo partnership. He will be missed.
Mike Gross, Brown '64
May 23, 2021
Please except my deepest sympathies to you and your family at this time of grieving. May God be with you and your family in this time of sorrow.
Simone Taylor
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