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.

Gloria A. Villalobos

February, 5 1968 — March 11, 2018

Gloria Ariane Villalobos was born on February 5th, 1968 to loving parents Emetrio “Emmett” Villalobos and Lucille Villarreal in Stockton California. Her father Emmett was in the military so Gloria began to travel the word at just seven weeks old. After high school Gloria went on to attend Washington State University where she attained her B.A. in Science. She then went on to receive her Master’s Degree in Astronomy.

Gloria began her planetarium career at the Vanderbilt Planetarium on Long Island. She then worked for the American Museum of Natural History. Gloria finally settled in Lakewood, NJ. Here is where she worked for the Ocean County College at the Robert J. Novins Planetarium. Gloria’s love for all things Astronomy led her to teach the course at Ocean County College as well as she toured local elementary schools with her “Mad Scientist” program to advocate the importance of science to our youth.

Surviving are her parents; Emmett and Lucille, stepfather; Joe Villarreal; brother; Marcus Lowe, step siblings; and her aunts and uncle. A memorial service was held March 18 at the Robert J. Novins Planetarium at Ocean County College in Toms River, NJ. Gloria was interred in San Joaquin Catholic Cemetery, Stockton California.

Walter H. Tenschert

July 9, 1936 — December 19, 2017

Walter Tenschert ran the planetarium at Thomas Jefferson High School in Fairfax County, VA from 1967 until his retirement in 1988. He was MAPS Treasurer 1975-1978. He was also involved in IPS, serving as membership chair starting in 1974, and added the duties of treasurer when he was elected in 1977. He served in this post until 1985.

Walter H Tenschert, age 81, passed suddenly on Tuesday, December 19 at the Beebe Medical Center after a brief illness. Walter was born in Loudonville OH on July 9, 1936. Walt and Zeke, as many knew him, retired from teaching at the Fairfax County VA School District. During the time as teacher, he also held a part time position with the Humane Society of the US in Washington DC. He then continued working full time with the HSUS until moving permanently to Rehoboth Beach. Walt eventually was employed as a surveyor with the City of Rehoboth Beach DE. He, subsequently, took a position with the Delaware River and Bay Authority in Lewes DE where he remained until his untimely death. His military service included four years of active duty in the US Army and was honorably discharged. Walt was a member of the American Legion Post 5 in Rehoboth Beach DE.

Walt was a hard working individual all of his life and during his casual time away from employment, he enjoyed going on cruises with his friends. His journeys took him to many countries. He loved classical music and enjoyed spending time with his many friends at Rigby’s in Rehoboth Beach.

Walt was predeceased by his parents, Joseph and Louwilda Tenschert as well as his brother Joe. He is survived by his sister Martha (Alan) Carson of Columbus Oh, his sister-in-law, Barbara Tenschert of Loudonville OH, nephew Tom (Karen) Tenschert of Waynesville Mo, Jeff Campbell of Ashland OH and a niece, Marcia Carson of Columbus OH, as well as his very dear friends in the Rehoboth Beach area.

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.