GREENSBURG, Pa. — Hubert Charles “Hugh” Woodsum, 84, a longtime resident of Greensburg, Pa., and a native of Mechanic Falls, died on Tuesday, Oct. 2.
Hugh was born in Portland, May 13, 1928, the son of Norton A. Woodsum and Edith M. (Stevens) Woodsum. He grew up loving the outdoors, music and science. His lifelong love of the outdoors was entwined with his 50 years of service to the Boy Scouts of America (BSA), family camping trips, mountain hikes and a love of alpine skiing.
His favorite place on earth was Green Pond in Oxford, where he spent many summers during his youth and nearly all of his summers after retirement. He was an avid fisherman and was accomplished at many sports, including horseshoe pitching, swimming, skating and one team sport — baseball — which he played in high school. He retained a lifelong interest in music, was an accomplished trumpet player and during college, earned much of his tuition as the leader of a “swing music” band.
He attended Mechanic Falls High School, graduating as valedictorian and attended the University of Maine at Orono, where he studied physics and graduated in the top 10 percent of his class. He received a two-year Fellowship from the Atomic Energy Commission, attending the University of Rochester, where he received a master's degree in bio-physics. He completed his M.S. Thesis at the Brookhaven National Laboratory, where he did pioneering work in nuclear medicine. He subsequently became a nuclear engineer during the Cold War, working on aircraft nuclear propulsion at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee, and at Pratt and Whitney Aircraft, in Hartford, Conn.
His career then moved him to Western Pennsylvania, where he held several key roles at the Westinghouse Astro-Nuclear Laboratory on the NERVA, Nuclear Powered Mars Vehicle development. He was there the supervisor of experimental physics, reactor shielding designer and technical lead for Westinghouse in coordinating with the prime contractor for NERVA, (Aerojet General). After cancellation of NERVA, Hugh returned to his roots in bio-physics, completing his career with various assignments in nuclear environmental assessments and health physics and safety.
He retired at the age of 60, but continued to be active in his church, in the the Boy Scouts, in the Masons, in the Health Physics Society, where he was an honorary life member and elsewhere throughout his community. He was also an avid ham radio operator. In his later years, he was honored with the Silver Beaver Award, the Order of the Arrow, the Vigil Honor, the Cross and Flame Award and the Daniel-Carter Beard award from the BSA. A life Scout, he was a Scout master for 15 years and led a group of Scouts on a 70-mile trek at the Philmont Scout Ranch in the mountains of New Mexico, at the age of 64.
Hugh married twice, raised six children and throughout his life was a loving and devoted family man. He is survived by his wife, Anne Johnston Woodsum of Greensburg, and their children, Barbara Miller and her husband, Ronald, John Gillan and Andrea Stilwell and her husband, David; and his former wife, Marjorie Walker Woodsum of Mechanic Falls and their children, Harvey Woodsum and his wife, Nancy, Valerie Dawson and her husband, Richard and Ralph Woodsum; as well as seven grandchildren; and one great-grandchild.
He was forever loved by all of his family and he will be forever loved, remembered and missed by not only his family, but by everyone else he touched throughout his 84 years.