Earl George Droessler – Lieutenant, United States Navy


Earl George Droessler, an internationally recognized meteorologist, died peacefully on Sunday morning, December 30, 2001 in Cary, North Carolina. During his 81-year lifetime he pursued several successful careers blending each into a full and useful life of service to his family, his church, and his country.

Born in Dubuque, Iowa on January l4, l920, Earl was the fifth of nine children born to Mary Elizabeth Steffes Droessler and George Joseph Droessler. After earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in mathematics from Loras College in l942, he was honored with a honorary Doctor of Science degree and was recently named the Distinguished Alumnus for Outstanding Professional Achievements and Contributions to the college. Earl was the leading spirit for two Loras College Alumni Clubs, one in Washington, DC and the other in Raleigh, North Carolina. He initiated and helped organize the National Board of Directors of the Loras Alumni Association and since l988 served as a charter/permanent Board member.

His graduate education and research in meteorology was carried out at the Naval Post Graduate School, Annapolis, Maryland; the University of Oslo, Norway; and the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization, Sydney, Australia. He published many scientific papers in the refereed journals of the American Meteorological Society.

He was preceded in death by his wife of 41 years, Carol Elizabeth Stoops Droessler. Surviving are the five children; Carol Droessler Fox, Manassas, Virginia; Maureen Scott Droessler, Park Ridge, Illinois Christopher Loras Droessler, Raleigh, North Carolina; Mary Elizabeth Droessler, Raleigh, North Carolina; and Martha Gaylord Droessler Mellor, Manchester, England. He also leaves seven grandchildren.

After graduating from Loras College, Earl joined the U.S. Navy and served four years in the Naval Weather Service during World War II. After leaving the Navy, he joined the Office of Naval Research, Department of Defense. Then he worked several years for the Secretary of Defense as the executive secretary of the Committee on Geophysics and Geography. Later he was invited to take a position with the National Science Foundation, where he established the national research program for the atmospheric sciences, which included the establishment of the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado.

In l966 he joined the State University of New York at Albany, where he served as professor of atmospheric sciences and vice president for research and development. Continuing his academic career, he was appointed professor of geosciences and vice provost and dean for research at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, North Carolina. He played an important role in the expansion and diversification of research in the Research Triangle Park, while contributing to the rise of NCSU in the ranks of research universities.

In 1979 he was granted a leave of absence from NCSU to return to federal government service with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in Washington, DC, where he strengthened NOAA's academic outreach and established the office of university relations. Governor Jim Hunt invited Earl to return to Raleigh in l983 where he served in state government as the assistant secretary for natural resources, responsible for the quality of the state's physical environment. He then returned to NCSU as professor emeritus of atmospheric sciences.

A lifelong practicing Roman Catholic, Earl found many ways to support his church. He was chairman of the building committees for two churches. He also served as usher, lector, Eucharistic minister, and completed terms on the parish advisory council and the parish finance council. He was devoted to the Blessed Mary and during the l950 Marian Year, Earl made a special pilgrimage to St. Peters in Rome, Italy.

Earl was a member of the Cosmos Club in Washington, D. C. for over fifty years. He was also elected a fellow of the following scientific organizations: the American Meteorological Society, the American Geophysical Union, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He served as president of the American Meteorological Society and chairman of its Scientific and Technological Activities Commission. Two of the AMS distinguished awards were conferred on him; the Charles Brooks Award, l976 and the Cleveland Abbe Award, l992.

The Waldo E. Smith Medal was presented to Earl by the American Geophysical Union in l992 for extraordinary service to geophysics. The citation read in part: “With consummate wisdom, unfettered imagination, boundless enthusiasm, and gentle persuasion, Earl Droessler has been one of the prime movers in the elevation of geophysics to prominence in the scientific community during the second half of the twentieth century.”

In the community, Earl played golf, bridge and found extensive time for reading and travel. He served the city of Raleigh on the Glenwood Citizens Advisory Council, the Raleigh Citizens Advisory Council, and the Raleigh Convention Center Commission. He helped Wake County establish the Oakview Historic Park and served for over a decade on the Oakview Advisory Committee. He was a member of the Board of Directors of the Wake County Historical Society and served a term as president.

A memorial mass will be held on Saturday, January 5th, 1:00 PM, at St. Michael the Archangel Church, 804 High House Road, Cary, North Carolina. A family burial service will be arranged at Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Virginia.

The Mathematics Department of Loras College honored Earl by establishing a permanently endowed scholarship in his name. Each year a senior mathematics major is awarded the scholarship based on academic excellence. The family suggests memorials may be given to the Earl Droessler Mathematics Scholarship, Loras College, Dubuque, Iowa 52004-0178.


  • LT   US NAVY
  • DATE OF BIRTH: 01/14/1920
  • DATE OF DEATH: 12/30/2001

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