Jack McCauley

John "Jack" McCauley Bonita Springs, FL

John "Jack" McCauley, 80, died April 20, 2012 after a brief stay at Joanne's House (Hope Hospice) in Bonita Springs, FL, his winter home since 1999.

He leaves behind his loving wife, Carol Breed-McCauley; his four children: Camilla Burns (John), James, John (Patricia), and William (Andy); his brother, Robert and his former wife, Camilla (both of Flagstaff, AZ); five grandchildren: Rachael, Riley, Callen, Mark and Natalie; 13 step-grandchildren and one stepgreat-grandchild.

Jack enjoyed a lifelong, joyful and storied career as an eminent scientist in Menlo Park, CA and Flagstaff, AZ, where he led pioneering research in geology of the Earth's deserts, the Moon, Mercury and Mars. He was a loving father for his children and a world traveler with his wife and fellow geologist, Carol.

Jack was born April 2, 1932 in Millburn, NJ, the oldest son of Frank and Margaret McCauley. He graduated from La Salle Academy and Fordham University (1953), and served as a Line Officer aboard the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter "Dione" in the Gulf of Mexico during the Korean War. He earned the Ph.D. in Geology at Columbia University (1959).

Dr. McCauley was an Associate Professor of Geology at the University of South Carolina until 1962, when he was invited (by Gene Shoemaker) to join a new group in the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). The new Branch of Astrogeologic Studies, working together with NASA, was charged with preparations to land astronauts safely on the Moon. Jack's work involved geologic mapping of parts of the Moon, using first the visual observations and photographs from telescopes, and later, images from Surveyor landers and Lunar Orbiters. His work supported the identification and selection of safe and scientifically interesting landing sites for the Apollo Project. The moon-mapping effort and astronaut training by USGS geologists, including McCauley, are described in the book "To a Rocky Moon" (1993) by Jack's friend and colleague Don Wilhelms. With Wilhelms, Jack co-authored the classic "Geologic Map of the Near Side of the Moon" (1971).

When the Apollo era ended with the Apollo 17 mission, Dr. McCauley, as Chief of the Branch of Astrogeology, turned his attention to the planet Mars. Jack served as Geology Team Leader for the first orbital mission to Mars (1971). Mariner 9 arrived in orbit during a planet-wide dust storm, but when the dust cleared, television images revealed an enormous canyon system and huge volcanoes. Dr. McCauley recognized geologic evidence for extensive wind erosion on Mars (1973) and went on to study similar wind-formed features in deserts of Earth, including coastal Peru, North Africa, central Iran and the American Southwest. His field work, with his wife Carol, using Space Shuttle radar images over the hyperarid Eastern Sahara of Egypt and Sudan revealed ancient, sandburied river systems and associated prehistoric stone tools (Science, 1982). Dr. McCauley retired from the USGS in 1986 after the demise of the shuttle Challenger, which destroyed the onboard imaging experiment needed for his further research.

Dr. McCauley earned numerous scientific awards, including: Special Astronaut Training Award from the Geological Society of America; Autometric Award from the American Society of Photogrammetry for his paper on the radar results; Special Award from the Government of Egypt; Group Award from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers; and Meritorious Service Award from the U.S. Department of the Interior.

A gathering to celebrate Jack's life will take place during the summer in Flagstaff.

In lieu of flowers, the family welcomes donations to the Second Chance Center for Animals in Flagstaff and the Salvation Army.





Published by Naples Daily News from Apr. 29 to May 3, 2012.
To plant trees in memory, please visit the Sympathy Store.
MEMORIAL EVENTS
To offer your sympathy during this difficult time, you can now have memorial trees planted in a National Forest in memory of your loved one.
MAKE A DONATION
MEMORIES & CONDOLENCES
Add a Message


Not sure what to say?



49 Entries
Jack! I didn't even realize you went home. I was just doing some really stupid stuff on the computer and their it was. Jack, you were the absolultley.I'll miss u Jack the most passionate man I ever worked for, if only for a short time
Pam LePorte
December 8, 2013
Mom - We have so many wonderful memories of times with you and Jack - in Sedona and on the sailboat in Nevada. I'm so thankful you had a partner to travel the world, stay with in Paris (in that adorable hotel) and discover the geological secrets of the Egyptian desert, the moon and Mars! Jack was blessed to have such a loving wife, who took amazing care of him, especially in his final years.

My love and condolences to Mom and all of the McCauley children.
Amy Barton
July 5, 2012
I was a late-comer to the Astrogeology group and found upon my initiation a bunch of stimulating co-workers exploring the geology of places we would never visit. Jack was a very innovative thinker, linking what he saw "out of his backdoor" in Arizona, to well-displayed wind erosion features in Peru to Mars. He was generous in sharing his knowledge and superb photos of Peruvian landscapes, not only natural landscapes but also those modified by humans on the Nazca plains. I was fortunate to share his wonder at both. I must say I was a little less comfortable with him at the controls of an airplane in which I was a passanger--but we all survived with great memories of shared experiences. I will miss him.
Howard Wilshire
May 23, 2012
What a lucky person I am for having worked for Jack. Among his many credits belong his amazing writing skills. He could make geology exciting and accessible to everyone. He was a character and delight.
Carol, I am so sorry for your loss.
Paula Helm
May 16, 2012
I just learned of Jack's death and am so sorry to hear the news.
Mary Chapman
May 15, 2012
All of us at JPL remember Jack fondly and appreciate his contribution to NASA's radar program. He will be missed.
Diane Evans
May 8, 2012
Jack McCauley and I first met during the 1964 Geological Society of America Meetings in Miami (FL) where he interviewed me for a Geologist position with the USGS, Branch of Astrogeology in Flagstaff, Arizona. Eighteen years later, in 1982, I was fortunate enough to join both Jack and Carol on the first of several expeditions into the Egyptian Sahara (between 1982 and 1997) to assess and evaluate numerous, previously unknown, sand-buried river valleys that they had discovered following the initial flight of NASA's Space Shuttle Imaging Radar sensor (SIR-A); and that had been re-imaged for us during NASA's three subsequent SIR missions (SIR-B in 1984 and SIR-C/X-SAR flights 1 and 2 in 1994).
I have many wonderful memories of Jack during our grand Saharan adventures together. I quickly realized that he was gifted in many ways, not to mention his ability to visualize complex geomorphologic landscapes and the manner in which they changed over geologic time. Jack can perhaps best be describe as a “broad-based intellect” with a remarkable knowledge of many disciplines. I learned a great deal from Jack, and for that I will be eternally grateful. He will be missed.
Gerald Schaber
May 7, 2012
We have many fond memories of working with Jack, dating back to the beginning of the USGS Astrogeology program in the early sixties. Those were exciting times of which Jack was a huge contributor and inspiration to all who worked with him.
Gordon and Jody Swann
May 3, 2012
Don Wilhelms
May 2, 2012
I have many fond memories of times with Mom and Jack--including the fateful lake camping trip that Steve so eloquently described! One thing is certain, the potential for adventure was always high around the McCauleys! I'm so grateful for all the boat trips, road trips, camping trips, and long visits we've enjoyed over the years. Jack brought my mother much joy and happieness. I'm so grateful for that,
Peace and Love, Laura.
Laura Groo
May 1, 2012
To All of the McCauley Family, especially my cousins Kim, Jim, John, and Bill.I remember your dads kind smile and his interesting stories.I'll always remember the family visits we shared at Tully Lake. May he rest in Peace.
Janet Yuckel
May 1, 2012
It is so nice to be able to see many parts of Jack's life through the photos. I always enjoyed visits from, or visiting, Jack and Carol. Like me Jack was a Jesuit educated, opinionated person from Northern NJ. It was always fun to hear his stories and debate his opinions which were punctuated by his always moving hands. I know Jack always enjoyed coming back to Menlo Park and SF for a visit and we enjoyed hearing about his days there. It was clear that Jack was proud of the life that he'd lived and most particularly his children, his life and many adventures with Carol, and the work that he'd done.

Our first visit was also to the A frame in Sedona. Grace and I spent a couple of wonderful nights camping in the front yard, albeit without fire ants. What a wonderful setting in one of the prettiest towns in the country - well done!

My condolences to all of Jack's family. He will be missed and remembered.
Steve Zales
May 1, 2012
May 1, 2012
May 1, 2012
May 1, 2012
May 1, 2012
May 1, 2012
May 1, 2012
May 1, 2012
May 1, 2012
May 1, 2012
May 1, 2012
May 1, 2012
May 1, 2012
May 1, 2012
May 1, 2012
May 1, 2012
May 1, 2012
May 1, 2012
May 1, 2012
May 1, 2012
May 1, 2012
I have two very vivid and and fond memories of Jack, both from the same visit. Before Laura and I were married, we did an Arizona trip, I guess so I could get the thumbs up (or thumbs down) from various family members. One stop on our itinerary was the A-frame in Sedona where Jack & Carol were living at the time - that is where memory #1 comes from! I remember walking in, and the first thought I had was, "Holy Cow, there is a lot of STUFF in this place!." This was before "Hoarders" etc. was on TV, but if it had been on then, Jack & Carol would have won, hands down! I remember having to vault a pile of National Geographics, Arizona Highways, etc., just to shake Jack's hand - but he welcomed me with a wide smile and a gracious invitation to sit and visit for a while. It was a beautiful Sedona afternoon, and that is when I first started to get to know Jack.

Later on the same trip, Jack & Carol took us on an overnight camping trip to a lake, somewhere I think south (?) of Sedona - Laura and Carol would remember - where we set up camp, and then went out fishing on the lake. I'm not sure we caught anything - if we did, I'm sure it was huge - but in any event Laura and I retired for the evening in a tent provided by Jack & Carol, who elected to sleep in the back of their pick up truck.

All was well until around 1:00 AM, when the camp site across the lake went on stage with a full band, drums, electric guitars, etc., playing until close to sunrise - needless to say, we had very little sleep - aided by the fire ants that found their way into our tent, and decided that they would be very happy to feast on me, the East Coast boy.

Anyway, we lived to tell about it, welts and all. But the point is, I remember our time with Jack in red rock country, on the lake, and in-between, as he regaled me with tales of geology, politics, and life in general - he was born to entertain, and he did that for me,whether it was cocooned in the A-frame, or providing sustenance to the fire ants - rest in peace Jack, you deserve it.
Steve Groo
April 30, 2012
Mom-you & Jack were such a great team! I know you miss him and all the times you shared together around the world as geologists and the wonderful trips you had together. Your love & devotion to him was inspiring to watch and his dependence upon you and love for you was very evident. I remember how Jack found such delight in teaching Joseph how to fish in Oak Creek Canyon. It helped begin Joseph's passion for fishing,boats & the sea. Love & prayers for you & all the McCauley family
Ralph Kucera
April 30, 2012
carol, please accept my condolences. i did not know jack well since he was very ill already 3 years ago.
our meetings were always short but inspiring. thinking of you rosemarie
April 30, 2012
Hi Mom -- you and Jack have had a big life together, and I know how much you loved him and will miss him. I'm thinking about you. My condolences to all the McCauley clan. Jack was quite an adventurous and spirited person. I'm inspired by how passionately he worked as a scientist and how much he enjoyed living.
Grace Zales
April 30, 2012
Carol, I just visited Joshua Tree National Park, the flowering cactus was beautiful. I know you and Jack spent much time in the desert together, I'm sure those memories are special to you.
Donna Walker
April 30, 2012
April 29, 2012
April 29, 2012
April 29, 2012
April 29, 2012
April 29, 2012
April 29, 2012
April 29, 2012
April 29, 2012
April 29, 2012
April 29, 2012
Carol - Anne & I send you our condolences. Jack was a fine person who led an interesting life. We very much enjoyed knowing him. You were both well-matched. Know that you can call on me or Anne for any help you might need. Anne & Buck.
April 29, 2012
Carol, Although I did not really get to know your husband, he seemed like a most wonderful person. My love and prayers are with your whole family at this sad time.
Joyce Farnham
April 29, 2012
Showing 1 - 49 of 49 results