Listed below are the names of our members who have passed on. Like the light of stars shining on to illuminate distant and future skies, the good work and thoughtful contributions of these men and women will continue to illuminate our profession. They remain a guiding example of what characteristics and gifts to emulate; for these things we are all vastly richer.

Dr. James Roy Orgren

Dr. James Roy Orgren1928-2014

by Paul J. Krupinski

First MAPS Secretary/Treasurer Passes After Stellar Career

The planetarium community has lost another shining star.

Dr. James Roy Orgren, our very own first secretary/treasurer, passed away Sunday, November 23, 2014 in Columbia, MO. Jim Orgren was 86.

Peter F. Connors


by Dennis Kurtz

Educator, Planetarian, Dreamer, Listener, Mentor

Peter was my mentor, colleague, and most of all my friend. Many in the MAPS community will remember him for his insight and dedication, not only to the planetarium field but to education
in general.

Steven O. Innes

April 22, 1955 – October 16, 2011

From the Portland Press Herald:

Steve Innes, 56, died unexpectedly on Oct. 16, 2011. He was born in Ann Arbor, Mich., on April 22, 1955, the son of Rachel and Richard Innes. He graduated from high school in Ann Arbor, and graduated from Eastern Michigan University. He married Nancy Murphy in 1980, and lived in Denver, Colo., where Ben and Hilary were born. They moved to Gorham in 1995.

James Henry Sharp

? – March 1, 2010

by Steve Russo

11,369. A number that forever will live on in my head. All because of one person. One of our colleagues who just passed away. James H. Sharp.

I only met him once, maybe twice, in person, but through a planetarium he helped build, I felt as if I worked with him. In June of 1971, the planetarium that he designed, the Vanderbilt, opened to the public in Centerport, New York.

Arthur W. Gielow, Jr.

March 1, 1947 – January 30, 2010

by Paul Krupinski

The planetarium community is truly saddened by the passing of a friend and colleague, Arthur W. Gielow, Jr., director of the Buffalo State College Whitworth Ferguson Planetarium, who died in Buffalo, New York on January 30, 2010. Art, who earned a M.S.Ed. in secondary education in the geosciences, joined the Buffalo State College community in 1970 as a technical assistant in the General Science Department. He became assistant director of the Ferguson Planetarium in 1980, associate director in 1982, and director in 1984.

Dr. Fred C. Hess


by Joe Rao

Well known astronomer and popular lecturer at New York’s Hayden Planetarium, Dr Fred C. Hess, passed away last Thursday morning after a three-year battle with cancer. He was 87-years old.

Among those of us who promote the science of astronomy in the Tri-State Metropolitan area, Dr. Hess had a status worthy of Joe DiMaggio. Let me explain with this analogy: It was back in 1999 that I was delivering a slide presentation on the Leonid meteors at the Andrus Planetarium in Yonkers. Somewhere in the middle of my talk, I mentioned that when I was 10-years old I attended a sky show at Hayden, and the lecturer behind the console provided a dialogue that literally lifted me right up out of my seat.

As I said those words, I brought up a slide of Dr. Hess and before I could say anything else, the entire audience applauded spontaneously.

Dr. Kenneth L. Franklin Ph.D.


by Joe Rao

It is with great sadness that I announce the passing of astronomer, Kenneth L. Franklin.

This afternoon, I received an E-mail from his daughter, Julie, who said that Ken passed away last night in Colorado. Two weeks ago he underwent heart surgery and was in intensive care ever since. Last night his systems just shut down completely and there was little they could do for him except make him comfortable and without pain. His wife, Charlotte was at his bedside. He was 84.

Dr. Rolf Erik Zimmerman, PhD.

October 29, 1941- January 26, 2007

by Asbury Park Press

DR. ROLF ERIK ZIMMERMANN, Ph.D, 65, of MIDDLETOWN, passed away Friday, Jan. 26, at Hackensack Medical Center after a courageous and lengthy battle with multiple myeloma. Erik was the son of the late Rolf and Elinor Zimmermann, and stepson of Marge Zimmermann, Palm Harbor, Fla. Erik married the former Gayle M. Stephens on June 19, 1971, and recently celebrated their 35th wedding anniversary.

Helmut K. Wimmer


by Kenneth L. Franklin, Former Chair and Astronomer Emeritus of the American Museum-Hayden Planetarium

Planetarium art — indeed, astronomical art – owes a great debt to Helmut Wimmer. After a recommendation from long-time Hayden Planetarium lecturer Henry Neely, Helmut was brought on to the American Museum-Hayden Planetarium staff as Art Coordinator in 1955. Neely had encountered Helmut by chance, and was impressed by his obvious talent and personality. At the Hayden, Helmut developed many innovative art techniques for the Hayden sky shows. It was there that he began to perfect his use of the airbrush. Only superlatives can describe his ultimate career.

George Lovi

1939 – February 18, 1993

by Sam Storch, E.P. Hubble Planetarium

It is with great sadness that I must report the untimely pass of George Lovi. Those of us
who had the pleasure of knowing him, learning from him, or merely reading his many
articles, have lost a “giant” indeed. George was of course, known for his encyclopedia
knowledge of the sky and its lore, but was also noted for expertise in such diverse fields
as railroads, history, cartooning, languages (he spoke more than half a dozen), and
even the Jewish Talmud.