IN MEMORIAM: FULL OBITUARY Al Read, 93; Physics Professor Active In Community Life


Albert J. Read, 93;

Physics Professor Active

With SUNY, Community

Albert Reid

ONEONTA – Albert J. Read, 93, a SUNY Oneonta physics professor who founded the Science Discovery Center, died peacefully at home Saturday, June 29, 2019.

He was the founding Director of the Science Discovery Center of Oneonta, renamed in his honor in 2015.

Albert was born in Albany to Dr. Albert J. Read and Dana Weitzel Read. He was married to Hazel Roberts Read from 1953 until her death in 2006. They received the College at Oneonta Foundation Distinguished Service Award in 2000 for their community service. In 2010 he married Dr. Frances Gailey, who survives him.

Prior to coming to Oneonta, he taught physics at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute from 1947-1950 and at Morrisville Agricultural and Technical Institute (NY) from 1952-1957. He received his BA in science (1947) and MA in education (1954) from State Teachers College, Albany (now SUNY-Albany), took further course work at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in physics and mathematics, and at Syracuse University in science education. He served in the United States Army from 1950-1952, teaching at Ft. Dix, NJ.

He was Professor of Physics, State University College at Oneonta, serving from 1957 until his retirement in 1985. His primary teaching assignment was making Physics accessible to non-majors, for which he wrote a textbook, “Physics: A Descriptive Analysis” published in 1970. He also taught history of science, energy concerns, and physics apparatus for secondary teachers in addition to other undergraduate physics courses. He received the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching in 1975.

Following his retirement, he was a visiting consultant for two years for the Catskill Regional Teacher Center, going to schools in the area and assisting physics teachers with apparatus problems and discussing physics ideas and how to present them. Seeing the needs of the community, he founded The Science Discovery Center of Oneonta, the College’s hands-on science museum, including raising funds, design and construction of over 80 interactive exhibits, and coordinating volunteers. He served as Director from 1987 to 2005. Since its opening in January 1990, the Center has received about 7,000 visitors annually, including thousands of school students in class visits.

He was an active member of First Presbyterian Church, Oneonta, serving as an Elder and on the Building and Grounds Committee, working on two mission trips to Jamaica with the church group, and singing in the choir since 1960. He was also active in Catskill Choral Society from 1977-2012.

He is also survived by daughter, Dr. Nancy Read Hendricks and her husband, Lon. He was predeceased by his half-brother, Samuel Merrill Read.

Visitation will be 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. Saturday, July 6, at the Lewis, Hurley & Pietrobono Funeral Home, 51 Dietz St., Oneonta.

A funeral service will be held 2:00 p.m. on Sunday, July 7, at First Presbyterian Church, 296 Main St., Oneonta, followed by a reception. The Rev. Mark Montfort, pastor, will be officiating. Visitation will be Sunday at church from 1:30 to 2:00 p.m.

Gifts in Albert’s memory may be made to the SUNY College at Oneonta Foundation, Inc., for the Science Discovery Center Endowment or the AJ Read Endowed Scholarship and mailed to: SUNY College at Oneonta Foundation Inc., Office of College Advancement, 308 Netzer Administration Bldg., Oneonta, NY 13820.

Expressions of sympathy may be sent to, Arrangements are by Oneonta’s only family-owned funeral home, Lewis, Hurley & Pietrobono.

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