Dr Louis Stief obituary
26 July 1933 – 7 January 2023
Retired, previously of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Maryland USA. Died 7 January 2023, aged 89.
On Saturday, January 7, 2023, at the age of 89, Dr. Louis J. Stief “Lou” of Southwest Washington D.C. passed away at George Washington University Hospital in Washington, D.C. Born in Pottsville, Pennsylvania, on July 26, 1933, he was the son of the late Louis N. Stief and Dorothy E. Stief. He grew up in Pottsville and Philadelphia, PA, along with his brother and two sisters.
In Philadelphia, he graduated from La Salle High School and then La Salle College, receiving his Bachelor of Arts degree in 1955. Lou continued his education at Catholic University in Washington, D.C., receiving his Doctorate degree in Chemistry in 1960. He then went on to be a NATO Post-Doctoral Fellow at Sheffield University in the U.K.
He worked for NASA Goddard Space Flight Center for 36 years, beginning in 1968 and retiring in 2004. He was the head of the Astrochemistry branch for 14 years and through the publication of over 100 peer-reviewed papers, his research directly benefited NASA's Upper Atmosphere Program and the Planetary Atmospheres Program. Many of his studies provided the first experimental measurements of rate constants, product yields, and branching patterns. These laboratory results have aided in the understanding of observations from Voyager; Galileo, Cassini, and other spacecraft as well as ground-based telescopes. His dedication and service played a key role in the many successful programs and activities of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center.
Lou is survived by his son, Andrew Stief (and Michelle) of Germantown, MD; his daughter, Lorraine Brush (and John) of New Meadows, ID; his sisters Germaine O’Hara of East Norriton, PA, and Helene Stout of San Juan Capistrano, CA; and many nieces, nephews, cousins, other relatives and friends.
He was preceded in death by his ex-wife, Kathleen Talbot Stief and his brother, John “Jack” Stief.
Lou enjoyed living in River Park in Southwest D.C. as well as classical music, fine dining and wine. He also enjoyed the arts, especially attending events at The Kennedy Center and Arena Stage with his many friends in Washington, D.C. He enjoyed traveling to the U.K. to see friends and relatives, tea and everything British, especially British TV shows.
Prior to his death, he fought Parkinson’s Disease for many years while continuing to live a very productive and enjoyable life.
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