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H. Stuart Muench

September 23, 1930 - May 26, 2012

Brunswick-H. Stuart Muench age 81 of the Thornton Oaks community died Saturday, May 26 at the Mere Point Nursing Center in Brunswick. He was born in Stamford, CT September 23, 1930 the son of Harry Edward Muench and Elsie Locke Muench. He attended the Hinkley Elementary School and graduated from Darien High School in 1948. Inspired by his 7th grade Earth Sciences class he began keeping daily weather observations and majored in Meteorology at MIT, receiving a B.S. in 1952. He then spent 2 years in the Air Force as a weather observer and forecaster, returning to MIT for graduate work in 1954. He based some of his undergraduate and graduate meteorology research papers on data from his schoolboy observations, receiving a Masters’ degree in 1956. Even before he graduated he had begun working as a civilian employee for the Air Force Cambridge Research Laboratory (AFGL). It later moved to Bedford, MA.

On January 3, 1959 he married Elizabeth (Betsy) Gilmore Holt in Davos, Switzerland. They met in connection with their mutual activities in the Inter-collegiate Outing Club (IOCA) and continued their camping, hiking and skiing activities, with and without children, for the rest of their lives together. In 1961 they bought a house in Lexington, remaining there except for a 2 year sojourn in Seattle until moving to Maine in 2006.

Stuart was offered the opportunity to complete a doctorate in Meteorology while serving as an instructor at the University of Washington in Seattle and took a leave of absence from his work for the Air Force to do so. He completed his thesis on heat transfer processes in the stratosphere after returning to his work at AFGL. The continuing importance of this topic, especially in connection with global warming, is reflected by the citation of his thesis by other researchers up to the present day. He spent a summer on the foggy coast of Maine working on airport visibility instrumentation, laying the foundation for later civilian development of highway ground fog warning systems. His work on developing computer programs that could recognize the radar signatures of developing thunderstorms and tornados is among the ancestors of today’s spectacular graphics on the Weather Channel. Among numerous other research papers, one in 1988 described the probable serious long term climatological effects of a nuclear conflict (‘nuclear winter’). Leaving Air Force research in 1994 he promptly went to work as a technical editor for the American Meteorological Society, finally retiring in 2010.

Once their daughters were launched into careers of their own Stuart and Betsy went further afield for their camping, hiking and climbing adventures; the Canadian Rockies, Denali National Park, New Zealand, the Khumbu region of Nepal, China, Mt Kilimanjaro, Cape Horn, Patagonia and Scotland.

Stuart was a member of the American Meteorological Society, the Appalachian Mountain Club and Sigma Xi. He is survived by his wife Betsy of Brunswick and Georgetown, ME; 3 daughters; Susan and Cynthia Muench of Heath, OH, Joanna Muench and her husband Craig Lee of Seattle, WA; foster daughter Renae Owens of Worcester, MA, one granddaughter and a foster granddaughter. His only brother, John Richard Muench, preceded him in death.

A Memorial service at the Durham Quaker Meeting House on Sunday, June 24th at 2 PM.   A committal service for his ashes in a family plot in Georgetown, ME will be held on July 28th at 2PM.

Donations in his memory may be made to The American Meteorological Society at or the Appalachian Mountain Club at .

Arrangements are by Stetson’s Funeral Home, 12 Federal St., Brunswick, ME, where memorial condolences may be expressed at