|Professor of Physics Emeritus Allen Wolf Dies at Age 73
November 12, 2008
Contact: Bill Giduz
Allen Wolf, who taught physics at Davidson from 1965 to 1991, died on November 8 from a brain tumor. He was 73 years old.
|A. Allen Wolf|
Born in Nashville, Wolf attended Peabody University in that city for one year before transferring to Vanderbilt, where he earned his B.S. in physics cum laude in 1958 and master's degree in 1960. After a few years in the workforce, he attended Georgia Tech and received his Ph.D. in physics in 1966.
He accepted a teaching position as the fourth member of the Davidson physics department that same year. He taught everything from introductory physics to senior colloquia, and established a reputation for clarity of lectures, an encyclopedic knowledge of his field, and “examinations of Roman grandeur and Byzantine complexity” (according to his departmental colleagues). In the early 1970s he and several students studied the structural details of the chloroform molecule using a microwave spectrometer that was the first ever in the country at a liberal arts college.
In 1982 Wolf succeeded the late Locke White Jr. as chair of the department, and retired in 1991. He started his own business, Computer Tutor, and worked as a consultant for the Electrical Power Research Institute, delving in the fields of robotics and computerized speech synthesis.
Wolf demonstrated a dry wit, love of wordplay, and natural curiosity. He regularly completed the Sunday New York Times crossword puzzles in ink in record time, and was well versed on scientific discoveries and international events through avid reading of The Economist and Nature magazines. He could find a song to match or contrast any mood or moment. In his 40s he became an accomplished equestrian and was Master of Foxhounds for Mecklenburg Hounds in the late 1980s. He developed his bridge game over many years to the rank of Life Master, and competed in tournaments at all levels with his wife of 28 years, Alston Osgood Wolf. He and she were patrons of many local arts and theater organizations, and fans of Charlotte’s professional sports teams.
|Allen Wolf at the bridge table |
In addition to Alston, Wolf is survived by four children -- Katherine Flinn Wolf Roche, Albert “Bert” Allen Wolf Jr., Geneva “Genny” Wolf Bosak, and Cary Anne Melton; two stepchildren, Mary Alston Kirk and Chisolm Frost Woodson; and ten grandchildren. He is also survived by his first wife, Cary Wolf Johnston.
A memorial service will be held on Saturday, Nov., 15 at 10 a.m. at Davidson College Presbyterian Church. The family will receive friends on Friday, Nov. 14, from 6-8 p.m., at Hankins and Whittington Funeral Home in Charlotte.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Dr. A. Allen Wolf Fund, Davidson College, Box 7174, Davidson, NC 28035, or to Presbyterian Hospice and Palliative Care, P.O. Box 33549, Charlotte, NC 28233-3549.
Posted By: Bill Giduz