Posted on Saturday 7 July 2012
A sad note
Dr. John Fakan, the person who hosted our Memorial at the USS Cod, passed away July 5 after a long bout with cancer. He was a major player in determining what caused the loss of the Grunion, and was responsible for getting Navy recognition of the wreck.
My wife Susan recalls an incident that tells a lot.
“I can’t remember the exact circumstance, perhaps it was in conjunction with the Grunion talk at the Museum of Science, but John came to Newton and had dinner with us. He was sitting beside me at the table and for some reason we began to talk about slide rules, which have always fascinated me — not because I understand one single thing about how to use them, but because of their elegant design. Surprisingly, or perhaps not, he had a one in his pocket. He had others as well, including one that had been on one of the flights into space, perhaps even on the flight to the moon. I may be embellishing the story to say the flight to the moon, but none-the-less, he had this wonderful little device that had been into space. He explained that if an onboard computer failed, the astronauts could make necessary calculations and more with a manual slide rule. I doubt that I shall ever learn to use a slide rule, but I shall never forget John, his slide rule, his warmth, and his wonderful stories about life’s adventures.”
Here is his obituary.