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Paul Graves, 1939-2000


Paul Graves died Wednesday June 29, after a year of fighting pancreatic cancer.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Boy Scouts of America, another of Paul's activities.

Paul taught science at Dartmouth Middle school for some 34 years, his entire career. He left only when he was too ill to keep a regular schedule, and even then came in from time to time.

He was a long-time active member of the San Jose Astronomical Association. In addition to conducting star parties at Dartmouth School, he often brought his class to SJAA public nights. He was an avid solar eclipse chaser, and spoke to SJAA and other groups about his travels and observations.

Dave Smith recalls his friend Paul this way: I shall certainly miss him. We had some great times observing together, and just sitting around talking. I will never forget the night we observed from his back yard as Saturn and its rings occulted 28 Sagitarii - eleven years ago this weekend. That was before I had a scope, and we used his C-8 and C-90. He insisted I use the C-8 (the better scope), because, he said, my eyes were better than his. The way the starlight kept winking on and off while coming through the structure of the rings was just amazing.

In early July last year, he was given four months to live. He stretched that out to almost twelve. He and his wife Ellen went to Europe in August last year for the solar eclipse, a thrilling experience which he recounted with slides in the September SJAA meeting.

Before Paul went back to college to train as a teacher, he had been a forest ranger, and a fire lookout before that. He and Ellen liked to just drive out of town and hike in the mountains, or go down to Death Valley to see the wildflowers, or to go bird watching. His love of astronomy was a part of his general fascination with the wonders of creation. I think this enthusiasm shows in the words he wrote in the article he coauthored with me for the Ephemeris for April 1999, which can be found at http://ephemeris.sjaa.net/9904/b.html.

Ellen believes Paul willed himself to hold out until the Dartmouth awards assembly on June 13th, as he had been notified that the yearbook would be dedicated to him. The students showed him a great deal of love and respect that day. After that, he rapidly lost strength.

Farewell, Paul


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