In Memoriam

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David McDonald Dibrell ’41

David McDonald Dibrell ’41, July 13, 2010, at home in Punahou, Hawaii. David grew up in Ketchikan, Alaska, and attended high school in Seattle. He spent five years at Reed, earning a BA in chemistry, and went to work for Longview Fibre Company in Washington. In 1943, he joined the navy, serving aboard the troop carrier USS General T.H. Bliss during WWII. He was stationed on the oiler USS Sabine while he earned an MS in meteorology from the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California, then was promoted to navigator of the heavy cruisers Quincy and St. Paul. David was an instructor and committee chairman for navigation at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. In 1959, he became executive officer on the attack transport Montrose and later served as commanding officer of the destroyer Twining. In 1964, he assumed the rather vague title of “Director of Pacific Oceanography”; in fact, this was military cover for his real job of hunting Russian submarines. He received the Navy Commendation Medal for his “resourcefulness and organizational ability” in this role. After retiring from the navy, he took up a second career teaching mathematics and science at Punahou School. David enjoyed music, theatre, and travel. He was married to the late Helene White; they had one son. In gratitude for the academic foundation he received at Reed, David was a longtime generous (and anonymous) supporter of the college. He established the Walter Crockett Dibrell Scholarship in honor of his father.

Appeared in Reed magazine: December 2010

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