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Fearghus O’Foghludha

Posted By Hall-Wynne On July 10, 2012 @ 12:00 am In Obituaries | No Comments

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.

Condolences for the family of “Fearghus O’Foghludha”

Condolence from Bob and Mary Wilkinson on July 12th, 2012 12:00 am

Fearghus was one of the most remarkable men I have had the honor of knowing. A rapier wit reflected in a far reaching mind which set him in the realm of a “Renaissance Man.” A fierce Irishman in the best sense of the term. I will miss him as will many others. While it is a cliche, like most cliches it is true, the world is the lesser for his departure.

Condolence from Carey Ewing on July 12th, 2012 12:00 am

You and the family are in my prayers.

Condolence from Edgar & Marabeth Carr on July 13th, 2012 12:00 am

Michael & Linda…
We saw the obituary. Please know you are in our prayers.
So sad…
Fond memories can never be taken away!

Condolence from Trish Van Oosbree on July 13th, 2012 12:00 am

Catherine, Ria, and family,

May loving memories of your husband, father, father-in-law, and grandfather bring you comfort and peace.

With deepest sympathy,


Condolence from Beth Clyde Andersen on July 13th, 2012 12:00 am

Michael, so sorry to hear about the loss of your father. I remember him from my years at Pulley Watson. I will keep you and your family in my thoughts and prayers during this sad time. In deepest sympathy, Beth Clyde Andersen

Condolence from Dick and Louise Lester on July 13th, 2012 12:00 am

Dear Kit, Michael, Ria, Linda,
Our hearts go out to all of you. We have treasured Fearghus’ friendship for forty-nine years and count ourselves privileged and blessed
to have known you all.
Dick and Louise Lester

Condolence from Jim/Betty Blackburn on July 13th, 2012 12:00 am

We have known Fearghus since the 1960s, worked with him at MCV in Richmond VA and followed him to Duke University in Durham NC in 1972. We count him as a dear friend and an admired colleague. He can never be replaced in our lives and we shall always miss him. Our love and prayers go to his devoted family. The Blackburns

Condolence from Antoinette Hilliard on July 14th, 2012 12:00 am

In your time of sorrow, my God bring you comfort, strength, and peace. Just know that you are in my prayers.

Condolence from Judge Doretta Walker on July 14th, 2012 12:00 am

With sincere sympathy in your loss, My thoughts and prayers are with you!

Condolence from Leslie R. Nydick on July 14th, 2012 12:00 am

Michael-I am very sorry to hear about the loss of your father, and will be holding you and your family in the light during this time of loss.-Leslie Nydick

Condolence from Fred J. Williams on July 14th, 2012 12:00 am

Mike, my thoughts and prayers are with you and your family in this time of loss.

Condolence from Ronald Jaszczak on July 15th, 2012 12:00 am

I had the privilege to have known Fergus since 1979 when I came to Duke as an Associate Professor of Radiology. He was an exceptionally talented scientist and professor. I would often seek his sage advice on scientific issues relating to my research grants. Fergus was a man of many distinctions and achievements, yet he was modest about his own considerable creative abilities as a physicist and educator. He was an esteemed colleague and friend. He will be in my thoughts and prayers. He will be dearly missed by all.

Condolence from Robert Gelblum on July 15th, 2012 12:00 am

Mike & Linda, so sorry to learn of your loss. Based on the man I’ve learned your Dad was from his obituary, Mike, it is obviously my loss not to have known him. You are in my thoughts.

Condolence from Lawrence M. Campbell on July 16th, 2012 12:00 am

Peace be with you.

Condolence from Sheila Richmond on July 16th, 2012 12:00 am

My condolences go out to you and your family. We will keep you in our prayers. The Richmond Family

Condolence from Toni Monroe-Jenkins on July 16th, 2012 12:00 am

Mike Judge O’Foghludha, keeping you lifted up in prayer at this difficult time for you and your family. Toni Monroe-Jenkins

Condolence from Luke Largess on July 17th, 2012 12:00 am

Ach, sure, he was a fine and dear fellow. His son planted close to the same tree.

Condolence from Joyce Kaufman on July 17th, 2012 12:00 am

Dear Ria,
Our thoughts are with you and your family at this time. Joyce and Bob

Condolence from Marilyn Chavez on July 17th, 2012 12:00 am

Dear Ria,
My condolences. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

Condolence from Richard Gowing on July 20th, 2012 12:00 am

Dear Kit:

I am so sorry to hear of the death of Feargus and saddened by his passing. My deepest sympathy to you Kit, my dearest sister, and to Micheal and Ria. I will always treasure the great memories of Feargus. You must miss him greatly. Please know that you are not alone in the difficult days ahead.

Your ever-loving brother,

Richard Gowing

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