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Henry T. Minden, Class of 1940

Henry T. Minden (August 23, 1923 – March 8, 2013) grew up in Manhattan during the Great Depression with a curiosity and passion for science that led him to Johns Hopkins University, where he earned a BS in biology in 1943.
Shortly after college Hank enlisted in the US Navy, serving as a radioman on the transport ship Warhawk, making numerous trips across the Pacific during and immediately after WWII. After the War, Hank entered Columbia University, earning a PhD in chemistry in 1952, and began a rewarding career in materials science research, working for Bell Labs, Sylvania, GE, Sperry Rand (from 1963-1988), and Northrop. His research focused on semi-conductors and optics, and included basic research on light-emitting diodes, lasers, and fiber optics. He held numerous patents, notably one for a ring laser gyroscope used in inertial navigation systems.

In 1953 Hank married his wife of 58 years, Dorothea (Dot) Reiffel Minden, an accomplishment he referred to for the rest of his life as the best thing that ever happened to him. In 1963 he and his young family settled happily in Concord, MA, and never left. An avid tennis and squash player and baseball fan, Hank was also a voracious reader and enjoyed crossword puzzles, bridge, bird-watching, and vacations with Dot around New England. In his retirement Hank drew much pleasure from volunteer work in a program matching retired scientists and engineers with inner-city middle school students, teaching basic science principles through fun experiments. He also played chess with inmates at MCI Concord and was active in the Men’s Breakfast group at his local senior center.

Hank is pre-deceased by his sister Gertrude Brooks Schuyt and his beloved wife Dorothea (1928-2011) and survived by his daughters, Vicky of Newton, MA, and Cathy of Towson, MD; his son Steve and daughter-in-law Kathi Slater Minden of Mountain View, CA; and his grandchildren, Henry P. Minden of San Francisco, CA, and Sonia J. Minden of Oakland, CA. Published in The Newton Tab , April 9, 2013.