Edward Halbach

Birth
Canby, Yellow Medicine County, Minnesota, USA
Death 20 Mar 2011 (aged 101)
Minnesota, USA
Burial Mendota Heights, Dakota County, Minnesota, USA
Memorial ID 67430307 · View Source
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Edward Halbach, 101, of Bloomington, Minn. and a former long-time Estes Park resident, died March 20, 2011, two weeks before his 102 birthday. Ed was born in Wergeland Township, Canby Minn. in March of 1909.

Ed graduated with a BSE and MS degrees from Marquette University, Milwaukee, Wis. He was a noted amateur astronomer, wining the distinguished Franklin L. Burr Award (later awarded to Jane Goodall and Richard B. Leakey) in 1948 for leading Nation Geographic solar eclipse expeditions around the world. As an engineer at with AC-Delco in Milwaukee, he worked on missile guidance systems for the Apollo and Titan space programs. Working for Allis-Chalmers, he developed several electro-mechanical devices for diesel locomotives. Before retiring to Estes Park, Ed worked for Siemens-Allis.

He was a founder of the Milwaukee Astronomical Society, for which he was the observatory director for 30 years. Ed was the first president of the National Astronomical League. He led National Geographic expeditions to Burma in 1948, Labrador in 1954, and British Somalia in 1955, to collect scientific data on solar eclipses. When a 20 pound piece of Sputnik 4 fell in the middle of the road in Manitowoc, Wis., it was brought to Ed's house for examination until NASA collected it.

Halbach encouraged high school students to learn about astronomy when he was director of the Milwaukee Astronomical Society. Several went on to become professional astronomers and university professors. While teaching at Marquette University in Milwaukee, Ed developed a system for predicting solar flares, which AT&T used to predict outages in shortwave trans-oceanic telephone communications. He also designed a trailer for laying cable to create lunar profiles, and worked on projects for Harvard University, the Smithsonian, and Yerkes Observatory of the University of Chicago.

He married Jane E. Roth at St. Catherine's Parish, Milwaukee. They were married for 65 years. He is survived by their six children, Kathryn Boileau of Reston, Va., Richard Halbach of Cumming, Ga., Mary Nordlie of Bloomington, Minn., Margaret Palmer of Dallas, Texas, Elizabeth Rockwell of Bloomington and Joanne Moore of Racine, Wis.; 18 grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his wife.

He continued his astronomy in Estes Park building a custom made telescope into his Carriage Hills home. He continued to observe what are known as variable stars all hours of the night into his mid-90's, reaching an all-time high of 100,000 measurements of variable star activity. He and Jane were active in Habitat for Humanity designing and supervising construction on many houses as well as serving on the local board of directors. They were honored for their Habitat work when Estes Park named Halbach Lane after them. Ed was active in Our Lady of the Mountains Church, often performing repair and engineering tasks.

A mass of Christian Burial will be held on Monday, March 28, 10 a.m. at the Catholic Church of Saint Peter, Mendota, Minn. Burial will take place at Resurrection Cemetery, Mendota Heights after the service.

Estes Park Trail-Gazette (CO)
Date: March 24, 2011


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  • Created by: Carol Moore
  • Added: 25 Mar 2011
  • Find a Grave Memorial 67430307
  • Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Edward Halbach (5 Apr 1909–20 Mar 2011), Find a Grave Memorial no. 67430307, citing Resurrection Cemetery, Mendota Heights, Dakota County, Minnesota, USA ; Maintained by Carol Moore (contributor 46944791) .