Deceased December 11, 2017
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Jim Gast passed away Dec. 11, 2017, at a care center for those with dementia near his home in Arcata, Calif., a town just off the Pacific Ocean and just north of Eureka.
Jim spent his high school years near Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, worked there during summers and developed what was to be a lifelong devotion to matters arising from the seas.
He joined our class in the fall of 1947 but spent two years with the Marines in Korea and graduated with the class of 1953. Jim then drove his 1928 Franklin cross-country to attend the University of Washington, receiving his master’s and then, in 1960, his doctorate, both in oceanography.
In 1961 he began his teaching career at Humboldt State University, the northernmost arm of the 23-unit California University System, located in Arcata. During his years at Humboldt, Jim was involved in the design and construction of its Trinidad Marine Lab and served as its founding director. He was the first professor in the newly established oceanography program and was mainly responsible for obtaining and operating vessels with seagoing capabilities that took students of various disciplines out to sea for study and research. Jim also participated in many Arcata civic and social activities and, after retirement, helped establish its community college.
He is survived by, and we extend our condolences to, Thea, his wife of 62 years; three sons; and two grandchildren. As you might expect, Jim had his ashes scattered at sea.
Everett E. Clark ’51