In Celebration of Our Colleague, Hugh Vander Plas
The Trust is sad to announce that Dr. Hugh Vander Plas, Program Director for Scientific Research, passed away on July 18, surrounded by family and friends.
Hugh and his wife Gretchen at Murdock's Christmas dinner
“We are still shocked and deeply saddened by the loss of our friend and colleague, Hugh. He was an outstanding colleague, creative and entrepreneurial thinker and hard worker,” observed Steve Moore, Executive Director of the Trust.
Hugh came to the Trust just a year ago, but in that time he became well-immersed in handling proposals and grants involving scientific and medical research. Hugh earned a B.A. with Honors in Physics from Calvin College and a Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering from Stanford University. Prior to the Trust, Hugh spent most of his career on staff at the corporate research laboratories at Varian Associates; Xerox Palo Alto Research Center; and Hewlett-Packard Laboratories, in Corvallis, Oregon.
Hugh - Jan Kennedy - Camille Cotton at staff retreat
His many and varied volunteer activities included certification as a Referee Instructor in the American Youth Soccer Association and service as an officer in San Francisco Bay area sections of the American Scientific Affiliation and the Electrochemical Society. He was also an active and faithful member of his church. Hugh is survived by his wife, Gretchen, sons Jake and Ben, a large and loving extended family, and an army of friends. We will miss our friend and colleague and remember him for his megawatt smile, his wry sense of humor, his grace, his faith in God even in the face of illness, and his deep and abiding love for his family.
Hugh's obituary can be found in the Corvallis Gazette-Times. The memorial will be at 2pm on Saturday, August 4th at Northwest Hills Community Church in Corvallis, OR. (for directions, see Northwest Hills website). The service will be followed by an informal reception with light snacks.
Donations for Hugh can be sent to either OHSU Foundation - Pancreatic Cancer Research, 1121 SW Salmon Street, Suite 100, Portland, OR 97205 **In memory of Hugh Vander Plas** or Calvin College Development, 3201 Burton Street, SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49546 **Hugh Vander Plas Memorial - Student Summer Research**.
Hugh on his birthday with Conner Peckham
Hugh and Dave Coleman at staff retreat
Words of Honor & Tribute for Hugh Vander Plas
If you would like to submit a tribute or remembrance in honor of Hugh, we invite you to do so at:
Hugh will be missed, and his passing is a great loss to the community, and the world of science researchers.
Mark Brodl, Trinity University
My condolences go to my friends and colleagues at the Trust who will dearly miss him and to Hugh’s family.
Kent Thornburg, Oregon Health Sciences University
It was a pleasure to know Hugh; there was no doubt he was a fine man, an excellent scientist, and a person of deep faith.
David Van Wylen, St. Olaf College
Hugh was full of life and brought real energy to the Life Sciences even though he was an engineer and physicist. I also appreciated Hugh’s wide interests outside of science which included sports (especially soccer) and wine.
Tom Bultman, Hope College
Hugh, Mark Pyatt, Dana Miller at staff event
Hugh and Lyn Swanson at staff retreat
Through his life and career he has positively impacted so many lives and he will surely be
Moses Lee, Hope College
Hugh was very kind to me and my students and was very helpful with all of my work support by the Trust. I feel lucky to have met him.
Peter Kennedy, Lewis & Clark College
We were classmates of Hugh through grade school, high school, and college. He was so good-natured with a ready laugh, an accomplished athlete, and so smart. He was a wonderful friend to grow up with.
Rebecca and Tim Tiemens, Forestville, California
Although we worked with Hugh for only a brief time it was evident he was an outstanding individual, both personally and professionally. Please extend out condolences to his colleagues and family.
M. Duanne Nellis, President, University of Idaho
We learned of the tragic news of Hugh's passing and send our deepest condolences to the staff and Trustees at Murdock. We at Willamette very much enjoyed our interactions and visits with Hugh, and we wish his loved ones peace and comfort during this rough time.
Stephen E. Throsett, President, Willamette University
The Murdock Trust is like a family, and all of us feel the loss of your colleague, Dr. Vander Plas. Please know that our thoughts and prayers are with you as you grieve.
Bengii Bryan Bittle, Broadway Center for the Performing Arts
I met Hugh last summer when he and John Van Zytveld were flying back from Pullman, and Hugh and I sat next to each other. I greatly enjoyed my conversation with him and was looking forward to an opportunity to work with him in the future. That was in fact my only time to talk to him, but he struck me as a warm, caring, and quietly accomplished person.
John Bishop, Professor, School of Biological Sciences, Washington State University Vancouver
I appreciated Hugh's expertise, his curiosity, and his deep concern for good science and student learning. I will always remember his site visit to our campus in March 2012. It was snowing, but Hugh still gamely hiked more than a mile with us to view ecological observation sites in our forest, talk to our undergraduates collecting samples, and tour the college's organic farm. Thankfully, he had brought a change of shoes - though I fear his trousers may never have recovered from our muddy trails.
John Mclain, The Evergreen State College
Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Dr. Vander Plas at this time. We have just learned of this significant loss.
Thomas L. Hellie, Ph.D., President, Linfield College
I write today on behalf of Reed College to share our sincere sympathies on the passing of your colleague, Hugh Vander Plas. I regret that I did not have the opportunity to meet him. I have however read the celebratory description of his life on the Trust's website and have been impressed by his passion for science and for life. While I know that you will miss him, it is evident that the world is a better place for his contributions, and for that we can be very grateful.
John R. Kroger, President, Reed College
I have just joined the College of Idaho community, but President Henberg has already conveyed to me the wonderful work done by the Murdock Trust and the generous support it has given to the College. I had greatly looked forward to working with Hugh - a college classmate of mine - in his new role with the Trust. His wisdom, energy, and dedication will surely be missed.
John Ottenhoff, Vice President for Academic Affairs, College of Idaho
While we only met with Hugh briefly during his time at the Murdock Trust, it was clear that he was an intelligent and thoughtful person who was very committed to his work. We are so very sorry that we did not have the opportunity to know him better.
Patrick G McDougal, Acting Dean of the Faculy/Howard Vollum Professor of Chemistry, Reed College
Hugh Porter, Vice President for College Relations, Reed College
Diane B. Gumz, Director of Corporate and Foundation Support, Reed College
Hugh's death is a loss to his family, to the Murdock Trust, and to the family of physicists. I fondly recall Hugh's good spirits even in our years of undergraduate physics, where he already displayed the supportive and cooperative attitude which filled all of his work. How sad that his second career should be cut so short -- but how wonderful that we could know him and share the joy he took in physics and in life.
David Van Baak, Calvin College class of 1973
Our prayers are with Hugh's whole family in this time of loss, as both Hugh and his son Jake are graduates of our department. We are honored by the family's wish to support student summer research at Calvin; these funds will be well used in training the next generation of scientists.
Deborah Haarsma, Calvin College Physics & Astronomy Chair
Please accept the condolences of the entire Gonzaga University community on the passing of Dr. Hugh
Vander Plas, Program Director for Scientific Research. At times like this our Lord's words of grace provide great solace and healing. My thoughts are with you, your staff, and Dr. Vander Plas' family.
Thayne M. McCulloh, D.Phil, President, Gonzaga University
We are extremely grateful to have worked with Hugh, and to have experienced his generosity, wit and charm.
Lesley M. Hallick, Ph.D., President, Pacific University
To our friends and colleagues at the Murdock Trust, please accept the condolences of the University of Oregon community for Hugh's loss. We only worked with him briefly, but we all enjoyed his expertise and excitement for high level research.
Matt Hutter, Director of Development, University of Oregon
Please accept my sincere condolences on the passing of Dr. Vander Plas. Those of us in the scientific community will truly miss such a thoughtful and kind individual.
James N. (Jim) Petersen, Ph.D., Professor and Director, Washington State University
I write to you on behalf of University of Puget Sound to extend my condolences to all of you at the Trust during this difficult time. We know that he will be greatly missed by all who had only just begun to work with him.
Ronald R. Thomas, President, University of Puget Sound
We are sorry to hear of Hugh's death and send our deepest condolences to all his friends and colleagues at the Trust. His passing is a great loss to the Trust and to the community. Over the past year, our faculty have enjoyed working with him and found him to be an intelligent, warm, and caring scientist who cared deeply for quality science research and education. He will be greatly missed.