Sunday, June 29, 2003

Obituary: Rev. Clarence Danforth


Catholic priest was also aircraft engineer

By Rebecca Goodman
The Cincinnati Enquirer

The Rev. Mr. Clarence F. Danforth's contributions to jet engines were significant and long-lasting.

The contributions he made in his retirement were equally so.

Father Danforth answered the call to become a Catholic priest after spending decades as an aircraft engineer at GE Aircraft Engines.

His "leadership in the aeromechanical field contributed greatly to the development and excellence of General Electric Aircraft Engines," said Frank Pickering of Danvers, Mass., vice president of engineering.

"He was a good Catholic priest and a good engineer," said his friend and former boss, Martin Hemsworth of Springdale.

Father Danforth, 82, died Wednesday at Southlake Care Center in Merrillville, Ind., following a long illness.

He was born in Winchendon, Mass., to Eva Jane Morlock and Clarence Danforth in 1921.

He joined the General Electric Co. in Lynn, Mass., as a computations assistant after graduating from Boston University in 1943. He came to the GE plant in Cincinnati in 1947 and settled in Avondale.

During his 34 years with the company, he served as supervisor of advanced mechanics (1953-1960) and manager of advanced mechanics (1960-1975).

"His achievements include the design of the first jet engine system vibration analysis models and the development of compressor and turbine aeromechanical design technology and the life design of air-cooled turbines," Pickering said.

Father Danforth was chief aeromechanics consulting engineer from 1975 until his retirement in 1977.

He was named a Fellow by the Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics in 1966 and elected to the GE Aircraft Engine Hall of Fame in 1984.

After retirement, he studied for the priesthood at Angelicum University in Rome where he was a doctoral candidate. He was ordained in Gary, Ind., in 1981.

Father Danforth served in St. Mark and Blessed Sacrament parishes, both in Gary, St. Thomas More Parish in Munster, Ind., and St. Mary Parish in Griffith, Ind.

He has no known survivors.

Visitation is Monday at St. Margaret Mary Church in Hammond, Ind. A prayer is at 10 a.m. and Mass of Christian burial follows at 10:30 a.m. Burial will be at St. John/St. Joseph Cemetery in Hammond.

Memorials: Society for the Propagation of the Faith, U.S. National Office, 366 Fifth Ave., New York, NY 10001.

E-mail rgoodman@enquirer.com




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