Donald C. Hoesterey '49


Don Hoesterey died on December 20, 2007, in Sun City Center, FL.  He was eighty years old and had lived with Parkinson’s disease for almost fifteen years. As in all other aspects of his life, he coped with Parkinson’s with grace, dignity, and determination and could be found on the golf course until just a few years ago.

Don came to Amherst in the fall of 1945 from Rochester, NY, where he graduated from Brighton High School.  Amherst at the time was on a wartime footing with fewer than 200 students but was readying itself for the return of many undergraduates and others who served in World War II.

He had the good fortune to have both a fine mind and strong athletic skills, lettering in track and four years of golf. He did honors work in physics and went on to get his PhD in physics from Yale in 1952. While at Amherst, Don joined Psi U in a delegation ranging from relatively fresh-faced high school graduates to veterans in their late twenties. It was a time of overcrowded dormitories and fraternity houses, veterans anxious to graduate and not particularly tolerant of rules for teenagers, and perhaps a bit more chaos than was generally associated with life at the Fairest College. Don took a somewhat measured approach to the activities around him. He had a gentle, somewhat reserved, sense of humor, enjoyed college life and his fellow classmates, and was, in return, well liked by them. While he was an active participant in college life, unlike some, it was rarely at the cost of neglecting academic pursuits.

Within weeks of graduation, Don married his high school sweetheart, Jinny Gilbert.  Don always maintained that his two best decisions were made early in his life: one, to marry Jinny, and second, to attend Amherst. They have three children, John, Gail, and Martha, and four grandchildren.

Upon earning his PhD from Yale, Don joined the Bell Labs where he stayed for four years before returning to Rochester to join the Kodak Research Labs where he spent thirty years before retiring in 1985.  As might be expected, his career with Kodak Labs was a distinguished one, including heading the solid state laboratory, doing pioneering work on digital imaging, and heading the photoconductor technology laboratory.

Retirement years for Don and Jinny included a move to Sun City Center, FL, in 1989; extensive travel; grandchildren; and for Don in particular, golf; and an in-depth knowledge of computers. Don was a particularly loyal Amherst graduate. He and Jinny rarely missed a Reunion, maintaining friendships with a large number of classmates, and Don  served as an associate Class agent for many years. He will be missed by his many Amherst friends.

—Joe Kingman ’49