Obituary Listings

Donald Eccleshall

July 8, 1927 February 11, 2018
Donald  Eccleshall
There are condolences waiting approval on Donald 's Tribute wall
Obituary for Donald Eccleshall

Donald Eccleshall, age 90, of Bel Air, passed away peacefully on February 11, 2018, at Hart Heritage Estates in Forest Hill.

Born in Warrington, England, he was the son of Donald and Jane (Houghton) Eccleshall. From 1946 to 1948, Don served with the British Army in Palestine and in Rhodes in the Dodecanese Islands of Greece. After fulfilling his Army duties, Don received his Bachelor’s degree in 1952 and his Doctorate in 1956, both in Physics, from the University of Liverpool. He then served as the Principal Scientific Officer for the U.K. Atomic Energy Authority at Aldermaston until 1966, when he accepted appointment as a Fellow at the University of Pennsylvania’s Nuclear Structure Laboratory. At this point he emigrated from England to the United States with his wife, the late Sylvia Mary Eccleshall, and their two children.

In 1968, Don became the Chief of the Nuclear Defense Laboratory at Aberdeen Proving Ground, which merged with the U.S. Army’s Ballistic Research Laboratory (BRL) in 1970. There he led the service’s efforts in understanding nuclear weapons effects. During his tenure the Army installed a Tandem Van de Graaff Accelerator Facility that served as a major wellspring of knowledge on nuclear processes of military significance. In 1978 he moved into a series of scientific positions wherein he led and conducted state of the art research on nuclear weapons effects, pulsed power and particle beam dynamics related to Star Wars, electromagnetic guns, radiation transport and the defeat of incoming high speed projectiles. Perhaps his most unusual assignment was to explore the means to find and defeat North Korean attempts to tunnel under the demilitarized zone, for which he was honored by the government of South Korea. His many contributions to BRL and its successor, the Army Research Laboratory (ARL), resulted in a list of more than 70 reports and papers. Don received two Army R&D Achievement awards and BRL’s highest honor, the Kent Award. Shortly thereafter he was appointed to the position of Senior Scientist, which is the Army’s highest available rank for a civilian scientist and reserved for only a handful of the very best. He served in this capacity until his retirement in 1995. Upon retirement, Don returned part time to the ARL and the Institute of Advanced Technology at the University of Texas to consult on a number of problems in soldier protection and pulsed power. His contributions to the soldier will long be remembered.

Throughout his career Dr. Eccleshall was regarded by his colleagues as one the most broad-based, insightful, willing and cooperative researchers and managers. He had incredible insight into physics problems, from theory to engineering, and was greatly admired by all who had the privilege of working with him. As one colleague commented, when faced with a problem in a new technology area, Don would quickly come up with an amazingly accurate “ballpark estimate” of the answer using one of his trademark skills - a ‘back-of-the envelope’ calculation. He made working for him a pleasure. His friends and colleagues have lost a most remarkable and inspirational leading light.

Don’s late wife Sylvia would say he had three main loves in his life - physics, golf and his family - and she was fairly certain they were in that particular order. But as his daughter can attest, he was the most devoted and loving father and husband, a gentle man, both wise and kind to the very end. He will be sorely missed by his family and friends alike.

Dr. Eccleshall is survived by his daughter, Olivia C. Swift of London, England; two grandchildren, Molly G. Swift and Jennifer D. Swift; and a brother, Richard Eccleshall of the Wirral, England. In addition to his parents and wife, he was preceded in death by his beloved son, Julian A. Eccleshall.


To send flowers or a remembrance gift to the family of Donald Eccleshall, please visit our Tribute Store.

Previous Events

Visitation

Friday

23

Feb

11:30 AM 2/23/2018 11:30:00 AM - 12:00 PM 2/23/2018 12:00:00 PM
Emmanuel Episcopal Church

303 North Main Street
Bel Air, MD 21014

Emmanuel Episcopal Church
303 North Main Street Bel Air 21014 MD
United States

Service

Friday

23

Feb

12:00 PM 2/23/2018 12:00:00 PM
Emmanuel Episcopal Church

303 North Main Street
Bel Air, MD 21014

Emmanuel Episcopal Church
303 North Main Street Bel Air 21014 MD
United States
Albums

Create new album
 
Subscribe To Obituaries



We appreciate your support
In accordance with the wishes of the family, this
message has been declined.
Donald  Eccleshall

Thank you for sharing your
memory of Donald

Provide comfort by sending fresh
flowers from our local florist.

Send Flowers
No thanks, please don't show me this again.