William Fecych, a nuclear engineer and former staff member at the Nuclear Reactor Laboratory, died Feb. 29 in Falmouth, Maine, of complications from Alzheimer's disease. He was 80.
Before coming to MIT in 1978, Fecych was chief of reactor operations at NASA's Plum Brook reactor in Sandusky, Ohio. In the 1950s he worked at Electric Boat in Groton, Conn., where he was an engineer on the U.S.S. Nautilus, the nation's first nuclear-powered submarine. Fecych was a utilization engineer at MIT's reactor, where he oversaw major construction projects, including the trace analysis lab. He retired in 1988.
He is survived by his wife, Joanne Rothrock Fecych of Cape Elizabeth, Maine; two daughters, Ruth Fecych of New York, N.Y., and Laura Sprague of Portland, Maine; a son, William Fecych of Baltimore; two sisters, Evelyn Patterson and Julia Fricker; and three granddaughters.
A funeral was held on March 6 at St. Alban's Episcopal Church in Cape Elizabeth, Maine. Memorial contributions may be made to the Massachusetts General Hospital Alzheimer's Disease Research Center, Gift Processing Center, Development Office, 100 Charles River Plaza Suite 600, Boston, MA 02115.
Celeste Fowler, an ocean engineering graduate student in the MIT/Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute Joint Program, died of cancer on March 21 in MIT Medical's inpatient unit. She was 32.
Fowler received her bachelor's degree in computer science from Princeton University in 1994. As an undergraduate, she worked at the Geometry Center at the University of Minnesota doing computer graphics programming and delivered a paper at the SIGGraph computer industry conference.
In June 2003, she began working toward her Ph.D. in the MIT/WHOI Joint program as an MIT Presidential Fellow, working on CT scans of coral and on imaging and robotics research at the Deep Submergence Laboratory. Shortly after her death, her family learned she had won a prestigious National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship for 2004.
She is survived by her parents, Dennis and Peggy Fowler of Otego, N.Y. A memorial service was held at WHOI on April 3. Donations in Fowler's name may be made to the Monterey Bay Aquarium Splash Zone (a special exhibit to introduce children to ocean life) c/o Monterey Bay Aquarium, 886 Cannery Row, Monterey, CA 93940.
A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on April 7, 2004.