In Memoriam

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Cloan N. Powell ’51

Cloan N. Powell ’51, September 12, 2003, in Ogden, Utah. Cloan enrolled at Reed following World War II, after which he transferred to Oregon State University, receiving a BA in physical science in 1950. He worked as a building contractor for a number of years before initiating his career as a physics teacher, first at Brookings-Harbor High School in Oregon. In 1958 he earned a master’s degree at Oregon State, then taught physics at Monterey Peninsula College in California, retiring as a professor emeritus after 30 years. During numerous summers, Cloan participated in National Science Foundation coursework. He advanced his studies through grants at the University of California, Berkeley, NMSU, South Dakota School of Mines, Iowa State, University of Oklahoma, Texas A& M, and the University of Wyoming. He expressed tremendous enjoyment for innovating laboratory experiences and equipment. Cloan spent a sabbatical year at New Mexico State University and on a second sabbatical traveled and visited scientific installations throughout Europe. Following retirement from Monterey Peninsula College, and in an effort to live near his children, he taught at Flathead Community College in Kalispell, Montana, and served as science division chairman at Central Wyoming Community College in Riverton, Wyoming. After a second retirement from teaching at Central Florida Community College, in Ocala, for seven years, he conducted physics-oriented workshops in Glacier National Park. In 1948 he married Laurel Shanafelt, and they had five children, four sons and a daughter. Laurel described Cloan as a lifelong learner, a man with "a wonderment and a curiosity," who delved into phenomenal theories, ideas, and formulas, and who never stopped teaching. She alluded to his admiration for physicist Richard Feynman, a parallel genius, who was satisfied with living into the questions and not having all the answers to life’s mysteries. Cloan is survived by his wife, his children, 17 grandchildren, and a sister. A sister, Elizabeth A. Powell ’50, also attended Reed.

Appeared in Reed magazine: February 2004

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