Tuesday, November 10, 2009

In Memory of Tim Hawarden

In case you ever wondered what got me to Hawaii, Tim Hawarden was the first person I ever talked to who had anything to do with me getting here and this whole outfit. In the summer of 1986 my phone rang. It was to invite me to a job interview in Edinburgh, Scotland. The person who called was Tim. At that time he was the "UKIRT Astronomer in Charge, Home End". I went to Edinburgh, my second time ever on an airplane, and while things didn't work great (I came in about 5th for 3 jobs, but in the end 2 people pulled out, that's another story), I ended up here. Tim's wife Frances, about the second person in this whole outfit I ever talked to, made my travel arrangements, first for the job interview in Edinburgh, later for my second interview in Hawaii, and eventually to move here.

I got to Hawaii in January of 1987. Imagine my surprise when in the summer of 1987 Tim and Frances came here too. Frances had retired for health reasons, and Tim came to UKIRT. I was working at the JCMT then. I remember applying for a job at UKIRT, where I had worked as a temp for several months in 1990 or so. I remember Tim quizzing me about servos and eventually saying "OK, I know you know more about servos than I do". I the years to come I went to the CSO and Tim oversaw the UKIRT upgrades program - and a few other things. He was still there when I went back to UKIRT now almost 13 years ago. They moved back to Edinburgh some time later. I had the opportunity to visit with them (and their cats) last in 2006 after Tim had retired to take care of Frances who has MS (which is why she retired in the first place) full time. I love both of them, as well as Miranda and Sam (Tim's children from his first marriage).

God bless all of them.

Added later: I was so taken aback by the news when I wrote this that I forgot to mention why I wrote it, but I guess the title of the post sort of takes care of that. We got the news that Tim passed away this morning, very suddenly.

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