Cover photo for Howard Ross's Obituary
Howard Ross Profile Photo
1935 Howard 2019

Howard Ross

January 1, 1935 — December 20, 2019

Cottonwood Heights

Howard P. Ross passed away unexpectedly on September 30, 2019 in Salt Lake City, Utah, from complications caused by pneumonia. Dr. Ross was born in 1935 in Stockbridge, MA to Carroll A. and Berniece T. (Banfill) Ross. The family moved to Sunapee, NH in 1943 where Howard grew up and attended public schools, graduating from Sunapee High School in 1953. He received a B.A. in Geology from the University of New Hampshire (UNH) in 1957. After completing his Army Reserve training and active duty in 1958 he began work as a seismic “computer” with United Geophysical Corp. in western Pennsylvania. He married his UNH college sweetheart, Barbara Lewis of Keene, NH, and they moved about the country with UGC seismic crews exploring for petroleum.

Impressed with the potential of the geophysical methods, he began graduate studies at the Pennsylvania State University, earning a M Sc. (1963) and his Ph. D. in Geophysics (1965). From 1965 – 1967 he was employed by the Air Force Cambridge Research Laboratory, Lunar and Planetary Research Branch, Bedford, MA, where he conducted laboratory reflection spectroscopy measurements and telescope observations in the UV-VIS-IR region of the spectrum. He represented AFCRL as a NASA co- investigator in the Apollo Application Program (pre ERTS).

In 1967 he learned of an opportunity to join a growing minerals exploration and research group, Kennecott Exploration Services, in Salt Lake City, Utah and accepted a position with a great group of earth scientists. He was employed with KEI and Bear Creek Mining Co. and conducted research and exploration studies throughout the western United States until the KEI/BCM laboratory closed in 1977. He then joined the start-up Earth Science Laboratory, University of Utah Research Institute (ESL/UURI) which primarily assisted the Dept. of Energy geothermal research and development program. He served as Section Head, Geophysics; Project Manager for the DEO Industry Coupled Geothermal Program, and later the DOE State Couple Geothermal Program. ESL/UURI later became the Energy and Geoscience Institute within the Civil and Environmental Engineering Dept., University of Utah. Dr. Ross worked with EGI until his retirement in 2000, and then as a consultant and contractor for more than ten years.

Dr. Ross was the author/coauthor of about one hundred technical papers in the fields of geophysics, geology, geothermal energy, remote sensing and optics. He was a member of the American Geophysical Union (AGU), Society of Exploration Geophysicists (SEG), American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG), Geothermal Resources Council (GRC), and other professional organizations. As a consultant, he served as a member of technical and scientific review panels for the National Nuclear Waste Isolation Program (Battelle Memorial Institute and the U.S. Dept. of Energy) and U.S. and overseas geothermal research and development programs. He was also active as a geophysical consultant to mining and geothermal energy firms and university groups.

Ross greatly enjoyed family outdoor activities with Barbara and children Steven, Krista, and Kimber, and later on, their children and spouses. Favorite activities included skiing, mountain hiking, biking, tennis, swimming and camping. He and Barbara loved their many foreign and domestic travels. He set an example of how to work hard, have integrity, be humble, protect the environment and love family. We will miss summers at the lake, family game nights, his sense of humor and sharing our lives with him. Ross is survived by his wife, Barbara, his best friend for 65 years; son Steven and wife Erin, with daughters Annika and Jillian in Berkeley, CA; daughter Krista and husband Derek Nilsen, with sons Thomas Child, Tyler, and Hunter, of Sandy, UT; and daughter Kimber and husband John Ritter, with daughter Kaitlyn and son Jake, of Gilbert, AZ. He said, “it has been a great life!!!”

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