Robert Thunell

Obituary
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  • "I grew up with Bob in Levittown, N.Y. We hung out with..."
    - Alan Pateracki
  • "Saddened to hear of Dr. Thunell's passing. Grateful to have..."
    - Christine Bucklin
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    - David Hartz
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    - Leslie Reynolds Sautter
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    - Nancy Healy
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Robert Carl Thunell COLUMBIA- Robert Carl Thunell died on July 30, 2018. He is survived by his loving wife and best friend of 38 years, Maureen McConaghy, and their three sons, Matthew and Daniel of Los Angeles and Thomas of San Francisco. Robert was born in Queens, New York City, on February 16, 1951, to Betty Hornbacher Thunell and the late Carl Thunell. He is also survived by his sisters Linda Beirne (Longwood, FL) and Deborah Falkman (Levittown, NY). Bob played varsity lacrosse at Brown University, graduating in 1973 with a BA in Geology/Biology. He earned a Masters and a Doctorate from the Graduate School of Oceanography at the University of Rhode Island. After a post-doctoral fellowship at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, Bob joined the faculty at the University of South Carolina in 1979. He was a professor of Geology and Marine Science and since 2011 served as the Senior Associate Dean for Natural Science. In addition to teaching, mentoring graduate students and publishing extensive research on the impact of climate change on oceans and marine ecosystems, Bob served in many administrative capacities at USC: Director of Graduate Studies, Director of the Marine Science Program, Director of the School of the Earth, Ocean and the Environment, and Chairman of the Department of Geological Sciences. Bob received many awards in his long and distinguished career in science. He was elected a Fellow of the Geological Society of America, a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union, and a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. In 2016 he was honored with a Distinguished Achievement Award from the University of Rhode Island. At USC he was a Carolina Distinguished Professor. While honored to receive professional accolades, his crowning achievement was creating a happy home for his wife and three sons. He was prouder of his sons than of anything he achieved in his academic and scientific career. He never missed cooking a family dinner or attending one of their school functions or sporting events. He was devoted to his sons and was loved by them in return. They have been inspired by his commitment to treating everyone with dignity and kindness. There will be a funeral service for Bob at Shandon United Methodist Church on Saturday, August 4 at 11 AM. A visitation will be at the church on Friday from 5-7 PM. Should you choose to do so, contributions in his name can be made to Shandon United Methodist Church, where he has been an usher and a faithful congregant for 40 years, or to Epworth Children's Home.
Published in The State on Aug. 1, 2018