Professor Emeritus Elroy O. LaCasce Jr. ’44 died on September 8, 2015, in Raymond, Maine.
(The following appeared in the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram from Sept. 11 to Sept. 12, 2015)
RAYMOND – Elroy Osborne LaCasce, Jr. died on Sept. 8, 2015, at his home in Raymond, at the age of 92. Roy was born in Fryeburg, on Jan. 17, 1923, the son of Elroy and Marion LaCasce. He graduated from Fryeburg Academy, where his father was headmaster, in 1940.
He entered Bowdoin College as a member of the class of 1944 and graduated cum laude, with honors in physics. While he was still a student he was an instructor in the U.S. Navy’s meteorology program at Bowdoin. He then worked for a year at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory in Washington. In 1945 he entered the U.S. Foreign Service and was vice consul in Beirut, Lebanon. Roy returned to Bowdoin an instructor in Physics in 1947. He earned an A.M. in Physics from Harvard in 1951 and a Ph.D. from Brown University in 1955. He rejoined Bowdoin faculty in 1954, where he remained until his retirement in 1993 and his election as Professor of Physics Emeritus. That year he was the recipient of the college’s Alumni Award for Faculty and Staff.
An expert on underwater acoustics, Roy was the author of numerous publications on the physics of sound. He conducted research at Bowdoin, Yale, and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. He was a member of the Acoustical Society of America, the Sigma Xi Scientific Society, and served as chair of the New England Section of the American Association of Physics Teachers. A figure skater for 43 years, Roy was a test judge for the U.S. Figure Skating Association from 1961 to 1991.
For generations of Bowdoin physics majors, Roy was more than a professor. Years ago he began a tradition of sending news of the physics department in a holiday letter to alumni as a way to keep up with the lives and careers of colleagues and classmates.
In his retirement, Roy continued to be a living voice of Bowdoin history, and he shared that knowledge through his handwritten notes and his commentary on the pages of the alumni magazine.