Frank H. Brownell died peacefully at home with loved ones on Oct. 21, 2017, at the age of 95 years old.
Frank was born on Sept. 20, 1922 in New York City, moving to Seattle in the mid 1920s where he enjoyed an active childhood full of newspapers, books, trips to the family home on Bainbridge Island, and boating on Puget Sound. His love of reading began as a child and books were his constant companion throughout his life.
Always a scholar, photos of Frank as a child show him in a favorite reading chair, book in hand and smiling. He served as a lieutenant in the United States Navy in the Pacific theater during World War II, and in the course of operating counter-radar machines, gained his interest in mathematics that set the course for his life and career.
He earned degrees and won math awards at Yale University and the School for Advanced Study at Princeton University, where he crossed paths with noted physicists Einstein and Oppenheimer.
He met his wife, Gloria Collins, attending folk dances in Princeton, they married in 1950 and moved to Bainbridge Island, where they raised five daughters.
Frank spent his academic career as a mathematician at the University of Washington, retiring in 1987, but remained an active researcher: his last 30 years were spent working on a new proof for the unmapped mathematics that could explain the “Lamb shift,” in which sub-atomic particles jump locations unpredictably.
With his second wife Catherine Noonan, Frank enjoyed travel, sailing, opera, and their mutual sense of humor. He was a devoted father and grandfather, sharing especially his love of reading — many of his family’s fondest memories revolve around his regular reading aloud of stories ranging from “The Wizard of Oz” to “Treasure Island” to “Winnie the Pooh.”
He was preceded in death by his daughter Lissy in 1970, his son-in-law John Cameron in 1985, his second wife Catherine in 2003, his first wife Gloria in 2005.
Frank is survived by his sisters Phyllis Crooks and Betty Weinstock; daughters Basilia Brownell, Susan Brownell, Nell Brownell and Jennifer Cameron; and grandchildren Sarah Goldberg, Leah Goldberg, Samuel Cameron, Benjamin Cameron (Corrie Bell) and Francine Brownell; as well as stepchildren and grandchildren.
The family wishes to thank Frank’s wonderful caregivers for the excellent quality of life they gave him at home his last few years.
Donations can be made in his memory to the Battle Point Astronomical Society or any educational scholarship fund.
A private service follows at a later date.