Curtis Rinsland (1950-2011)

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Curtis RinslandCurtis Rinsland (1950–2011)

Curtis Philip Rinsland, 61, passed away peacefully April 20, 2011 at Riverside Regional Medical Center in Hampton, Virginia, after a courageous battle with antiphospholipid syndrome.

He was born in Allentown, Pa., on Dec. 5, 1950, and settled in Hampton, Va., after marriage. He graduated from the Ohio State University with a Ph.D. in astronomy in 1980, and fulfilled his lifelong ambition when he joined NASA's Langley Research Center in 1983. During his 28-year career, he wrote over 200 papers on atmospheric research pertaining to greenhouse gases, climate change and man's impact on the atmosphere. Curtis received NASA's Exceptional Scientific Achievement Medal for pioneering new scientific results from the four ATMOS shuttle flights between 1985 and 1994.

Most recently, he was working with Canadian scientists on the analysis of data from the ACE instrument. Because of the collaborative nature of his work, Curtis made many lasting friends over the years at other NASA centers, universities, and labs in the U.S. and abroad. He was an exceptional individual, who was extremely well liked and respected by his many friends and co-workers.

At home, Curtis enjoyed the company of several large orange "rescue" cats, attending Peninsula Pilots games, taking long walks around Olde Wythe, and keeping up with family activities. He continued his interest in astronomy and even flew to Hawaii to view Halley's comet in 1986. He shared his love of astronomy with his daughters by introducing them to the wonders of the universe through a telescope he built in high school. Curtis was bitten by the travel bug early in life and made many trips to Europe, Australia, Hawaii, the Caribbean, and New Zealand.