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C. Melvin Bliven ’50

A picture of Melvin Bliven

C. Melvin Bliven ’50, September 2, 2010, in Wedderburn, Oregon. Mel earned a BA in physics from Reed, where he met Ruth A. Hess ’52. They were married for 25 years and raised two children. Mel's career was centered on the design, manufacture, and maintenance of lasers and technical instruments. His company, Laser Technical Instruments in Lake Oswego, developed the laser guidelines used in precision woodcutting by sawmills around the country. He maintained a friendship with Professor Jean Delord [physics, 1950–88]; in 1979, he provided the physics department with a pair of lasers to create a high-speed computer data link between the physics building and Eliot Hall. (Classmates of the appropriate vintage may remember their enigmatic red beam, which was visible on foggy nights.) Mel enjoyed genealogy work, travel, and time outdoors. In retirement, he moved to Wedderburn, where he built a home just a few feet from the Pacific Ocean. Survivors include his son, daughter, stepdaughter, stepson, and a granddaughter. Mel was also married to Barbara Walker, who died in 2004.

Appeared in Reed magazine: March 2011

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