Amherst Magazine

Shannon Moffat '50

Deceased January 23, 2009

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In Memory

Shannon Moffat (nee Samuel Moffat) was born in Pittsburgh, Pa., on Aug. 23, 1927. She died peacefully in Palo Alto on January 23, 2009. A loving friend and parent, she had a notable 56-year career as a technical writer and editor. Raised in New York City and Lafayette, IN, Shannon attended Deerfield Academy (Class of 1945), served in the U.S. Navy from 1945-46 and attended the U.S. Naval Academy from 1946 to 1948. She graduated from Amherst College in 1950 and worked as the assistant science editor for the publishing company, Henry Holt and Company, in New York City from 1950 to 1952.

After serving in the U.S. Coast Guard (1952-54), she moved to Ventura, Calif., to work for the Star-Free Press as a reporter and as the author of a weekly book column. She moved to Palo Alto in 1955 to work for the Palo Alto Times, initially as a general reporter, then as the education and science reporter. Her articles for the Times won several awards, including the First Prize from the Education Writers Association. In 1958-59 she was a Sloan-Rockefeller Fellow in the Advanced Science Writing Program of the Columbia Univ. Graduate School of Journalism.

She left the Palo Alto Times in 1959 to work as information officer for the Stanford Medical Center, where she worked until 1966. At that time, Shannon embarked on a freelance career that lasted 15 years, writing and editing books and articles, primarily about scientific subjects for lay and technical audiences.

In 1981, she returned to Stanford Univ., preparing printed and online documents for users of Stanford’s computer systems and editing the award-winning Graphics & Printing Bulletin. She worked from 1989-97 as a medical writer for Syntex. From 1997-2006, she was an assistant to Stanford Professor Emeritus, Dr. Carl Djerrasi.

A lover of art, music, theatre and dance, Shannon also volunteered for many organizations, including TheatreWorks, Foothills Park and the Stanford Library Associates.

Shannon is survived by her sons Bruce and Ben, stepdaughter Carrie Hickman and grandchildren Valeria Moffat and Court and Alex Hickman.

—Stu Leeb ’50


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