Provost Peggy Agouris sent the following message to the campus community on June 8, 2022 – Ed.
I write to share the news that Morton Eckhause, 87, of Williamsburg, died peacefully at his home on May 25, 2022. Morty was born in New York City on May 17, 1935 to Jack and Rose (Roth) Eckhause. He grew up in the Bronx, graduated from Stuyvesant HS in 1953, and was awarded a scholarship to New York University where he served as editor-in-chief of NYU’s Heights Daily News and in 1957 earned an A.B. in Physics. He received his Ph.D. in Physics from Carnegie Mellon University in 1962, and after a postdoc at Yale, he joined the faculty at William & Mary in 1964.
Professor Eckhause’s research in experimental particle physics took him to national and international laboratories and research sabbaticals at Rutherford Laboratory in England in 1973 and the Swiss Institute for Nuclear Physics in 1982-83. His research was published in numerous articles, including over 40 papers in Physical Review Letters. Professor Eckhause supervised and mentored postdoctoral fellows, graduate and undergraduate students, and won several teaching awards, including the Thomas Jefferson Award in 1990. From 1992 to 1996 he served as chair of the Physics department. Highly sought after for his leadership and commitment to William & Mary, he served on numerous university committees, and helped bring millions to William & Mary as co-investigator on a number of important research projects. In 2004, he retired as Professor of Physics, Emeritus, and continued his research, teaching, and departmental service for several years.
To those who knew him, Morty was much more than a very accomplished physicist. He was a voracious reader of literature, a connoisseur of classical music, Broadway, cinema, Yankees baseball, and Sauvignon Blanc. In his retirement, he welcomed younger family members and friends to live with his wife Sarah and him during their studies, all of whom remain exceptionally fond of Morty and grateful for his generosity. A loving father, devoted husband, and dedicated friend, Morty will be most remembered for his exceptional wit, legendary one-liners, and generosity of spirit. A fixture in Williamsburg for six decades, he will be sorely missed by his family, numerous friends, colleagues, and former students.
Physics department chair Jeffrey Nelson noted in his communication to department colleagues, “It is with a heavy heart that I share the news that Professor Emeritus, and former Chair of Physics, Morty Eckhause passed away this week. Personally, I had the privilege to overlap with him during my first semester on campus. I enjoyed his famously dry wit and our many conversations over the years about physics, our collaborators in common, and politics. I will note that I had slightly less enjoyment in our conversations about baseball, which mostly involved his Yankees beating my Twins in the postseason.”
Professor Eckhause is survived by Sarah, his wife of 54 years; sister, Pearl Bauman (Leo) of Commack, NY; sons Joel (Melissa) of Marina del Rey, CA, Tobias (Susan Najita) of Ann Arbor, MI, and Jeremy (Marion) of Arlington, VA; grandchildren Henry and Alessandra; and numerous nieces, nephews, grandnieces, and grandnephews.
A private interment service will be held at the W&M Memorial Gardens followed by a memorial service and reception at the W&M Alumni House on June 15, 2022 at 12:30 p.m.
In lieu of flowers donations may be made online at http://impact.wm.edu/eckhause
William & Mary
P.O. Box 8795
Williamsburg, Virginia 23187-8795
(757) 221-1993 (office)
(757) 221-1510 (fax)