DURHAM-Fearghus O’Foghludha, 85, of Durham, N.C. and Clonskeagh, Dublin, Ireland, died on July 10, 2012 in Durham, surrounded by his loving family. Born January 8, 1927 in Dublin to Micheal O’Foghludha, a veteran of the 1916 Easter Rising and the Black and Tan War, and Maire Jane Smartt, Dr. O’Foghludha had a long and distinguished career as a radiation physicist.
He received a scholarship from Dublin Corporation to attend University College Dublin in 1944, and received his B.Sc., M.Sc., and Ph.D. in Experimental Physics from the National University of Ireland.
In 1951, Dr. O’Foghludha was awarded a Travelling Studentship in Experimental Physics from UCD and studied for two years at the Royal University of Uppsala Sweden and the University of Lund Sweden. Returning to his native Ireland in 1953, Dr. O’Foghludha served as Senior Physicist at St. Luke’s Hospital in Dublin from 1954 to 1963.
In 1963, Dr. O’Foghludha emigrated to the United States with his family. From 1963 to 1970, he served as Associate Professor, Professor, and finally Chairman of the Division of Radiation Physics at the Medical College of Virginia. In 1970, Dr. O’Foghludha came to Duke University, where he was Professor of Radiation Physics, Adjunct Professor of Physics, and Director of the Division of Radiation Physics, retiring as Professor Emeritus in 1992. Dr. O’Foghludha served as Visiting Professor of Physics at East Carolina University for several more years. At different times in his distinguished career, Dr. O’Foghludha served as a Visiting Scientist at the Oak Ridge Institute for Nuclear Studies, the University of Michigan, and the University of Lund.
Dr. O’Foghludha consulted for many organizations, including the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, the Atomic Energy Commission, CERN, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, where he designed an experiment on solar radiation for the Apollo 13 lunar mission. Dr. O’Foghludha holds several patents, including one granted in September 2011, and published extensively in his field. He served as the North American Editor for Physics in Medicine and Biology from 1976 to 1979, and was editor of Medical Physics from 1985 to 1987. He was elected to the American College of Radiology in 1967, and chaired several of its commissions. He served as President of the American Association of Physicists in Medicine from 1971 to 1972, and was later elected a Fellow of both that society and the Institute of Physics U.K.. He was a member of the Hospital Physicists Association U.K. and the Royal Society of Medicine.
Dr. O’Foghludha is survived by his wife of fifty-six years, Catherine; two children, the Hon. Michael O’Foghludha, Resident Superior Court Judge of the 14th Judicial District, and Dr. Ria Mairead O’Foghludha, a professor at Whittier College; two grandchildren, Matthew and Kevin O’Foghludha; a sister, Mrs. Ite Downes of Drumcondra, Dublin; his daughter-in-law, Linda Daniel; and many relatives, colleagues, and friends. He was predeceased by his sister Damhnait of Mt. Merrion, Co. Dublin in February 2012. He will be mourned by his family and remembered with great affection by relatives and friends throughout the United States, in Ireland, and beyond.
Anyone who ever met Dr. O’Foghludha will remember his quick wit and charm. He was far more than a distinguished scientist. He loved literature, film, history, language, and politics. By his own admission, he knew “1001 useless facts”. He loved Irish music and was a good fiddle player. Although he left Ireland in 1963, and became a U.S. citizen, his native country was always on his mind. His like will never be seen again.
The family would like to thank the staff of the Hock Family Pavilion of Duke Hospice, and the physicians and staff of the Duke University Medical Center for their excellent care in his last illness. Visitation will be on Monday, July 16, at 10:00 am at the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Durham and the funeral will follow at 11:00 am.
The O’Foghludha family is under the care of Hall-Wynne Funeral Service. Online register www.hallwynne.com Select Obituaries.
Ni imithe uainn ach romhainn.