John Mather

1924 - 2003

Age 79, a worldrenowned climatologist, ever-popular professor, mentor, and long-time chairman of the Department of Geography at the University of Delaware died Friday, 3 January 2003. He was a 40-year resident of Daretown, NJ. Dr. Mather began his career in climatology following his Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins University in 1951. He was Professor of Climatology at Drexel Institute of Technology in Philadelphia from 1957-1960, and was president of C.W. Thornthwaite Associates/Laboratory of Climatology of Centerton, NJ from 1963- 1972. During this same time he became a professor of geography at the University of Delaware where he built, and for 25 years, chaired the geography department there, providing graduate training to several generations of the United States’ leading climatologists. He personally taught physical geography to more than 12,000 students in his thirty-five years at the university. During his distinguished career, Dr. Mather authored several books on applied climatology and water resources, and was U.S. editor on a joint U.S.- U.S.S.R. book on global change. He was president of the American Association of Geographers in 1991 and recipient of the Association’s Lifetime Achievement award in 1998, and the American Geographical Society’s Charles P. Daly Medal in 1999. He was Delaware’s State Climatologist for many years. Born in Boston, MA on 9 October 1923, son of Brigadier General John Mather and wife Mabelle. Dr. Mather was husband of the late Amy N. Mather of Daretown, and Sandra F. Mather of Avondale, PA, where he resided for the past 5 years. In addition to his wife Sandra, he is survived by his 3 children, Susan Brennan of Orlando, FL, Dr. Thomas Mather of Wakefield, RI, and Dr. Ellen Mihaich of Durham, NC, and 6 grandchildren; and a sister, Anne Jenkins, of Cotuit, MA. Besides teaching, Dr. Mather enjoyed many interests including watching football and spending summers on Cape Cod. He was a member of the Pittsgrove Presbyterian Church in Daretown, where he taught adult Sunday School for over 40 years. A memorial service celebrating the life of Dr. Mather was held at the Pittsgrove Presbyterian Church in Daretown, NJ at 3 pm on Saturday, 11 January 2003. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that contributions be made to the John R. Mather Scholarship, Department of Geography, University of Delaware, Newark, DE 19716 or the Russ and Amy Mather Sunday School Award at the Pittsgrove Presbyterian Church, 312 Daretown Rd., Elmer, NJ 08318.

John “Russ” Mather (Necrology). 2003. AAG Newsletter 38 (2): 20