July 9, 1952 - Aug. 7, 2012
KNOX - World renowned Marine Biologist and underwater explorer Dr. Richard L. Radtke, 60, died Tuesday, Aug. 7, 2012, at South Bend Memorial Hospital in South Bend, Indiana. He was born July 9, 1952, in Knox, Indiana. He was surrounded by his loving and caring family. He is survived by his mother, Eunice Burgner, and stepfather, Larry of Knox; his son, David Radtke of California, and daughter, Ocean Radtke of Hawaii. Sister, Claudette (Jim) Ludwig of Knox; brothers, Rev. Clifford (Beverly) Radtke of Michigan, Alan (Evelyn) Radtke of Denham and Douglas (Margaret) Radtke of North Judson; and one granddaughter, Emily of California. Also numerous nephews and nieces. He was preceded in death by his father, Clarence, and brother, Kenneth. He graduated from North Judson High School, North Judson, Indiana, in 1970. He received his Bachelor of Arts Degree from Wabash College, Crawfordsville, Indiana, in 1974, and his Ph.D from the University of South Carolina in Marine Science in December 1978 at the age of 26. At the age of 28, Dr. Radtke was diagnosed with MS. At age 47, Dr. Richard Radtke was a Full Professor in Biological Oceanography in the School of Ocean and Earth Sciences and Technology at the University of Hawaii. He is considered an authority in fish biology and is a leader in three fields of fish biology: (1) larval fish ecology; (2) large pelagic fish population ecology (tunas; billfishes and sharks); (3) Antarctic and Arctic fish ecology. Some of his other interests include photography, scuba diving, fishing and sailing. He is credited with over 70 publications and numerous (>100) scientific meeting presentations. His experiences at sea include two trips to Antarctica, wherein he is the first disabled scientist to accomplish research in Antarctica, for which he was awarded a U.S. Presidential Commendation, just one of many awards and honors he has been accorded. He has also accomplished research in his field in Thailand, Philippines, Japan, New Zealand, Australia, Spain, South America, Norway, Germany, Great Britain, USSR, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, the North Atlantic, Kona (on the Island of Hawaii), Oahu, and northern Norway. These are noteworthy and phenomenal accomplishments. Throughout his professional career, Dr. Radtke has never lost sight of the community-at-large. In his spare time, he has inspired students and adults through special presentations on his work and life. He has worked with groups of handicapped people, and was on the Board of Directors of the Multiple Sclerosis Society-Hawaiian Islands Chapter, the ALOHA Special Technology Access Center, Inc., Winners at Work, and the Hawaii Center for Independent Living and Easter Seals. He received the University of Hawaii's highest award for community service, The Robert W. Clopton Award for Distinguished Community Service. For his career accomplishments and community service, Dr. Richard Radtke has been honored as one of Hawaii's 3 Outstanding Young Persons of 1990 and disabled person of the year for 1990. He was named to Who's Who in Science and Engineering, inducted into the North Judson Hall of Fame, and selected as an American Associate for the Advancement of Science Diplomacy Fellow. Dr. Richard Radtke received a U.S. Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring (one of ten in the nation). He went on to win other awards and accolades. Dr. Richard Radtke was truly inspirational. Dr. Radtke recently retired after 25 years as a full Professor in Biological Oceanography in the School of Ocean and Earth Sciences and Technology at the University of Hawaii. It is said that one loses something only to find that something else is gained. He demonstrates strength and clarity of will and purpose that may be the uncommon gifts of his physical disability. For more info on Dr. Richard Radtke, you can Google him online.
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Published by South Bend Tribune on Aug. 21, 2012.