Roscoe Riley Braham Jr.

3 janvier 192128 mai 2017

Roscoe Riley Braham, Jr., passed away peacefully on Sunday morning, May 28, 2017 at the age of 96. Roscoe was born on January 3, 1921, in Yates City, IL, the son of the Roscoe R. Braham, Sr., and Edith Bowman Braham. He graduated in 1938 from Central High School in Xenia, OH. He attended Ohio University and after three years earned a B.S. in geology in 1941. After graduation and the attack at Pearl Harbor, he volunteered for the U.S. Army Air Corps where he was first a weather officer and later a bomber pilot during WWII. These experiences led to his conclusion several years later that using aircraft, in addition to ground based instruments, was fundamental to furthering weather research, a novel idea at the time.

In 1943 Roscoe married Mary Ann Moll, his high school sweetheart. He attended graduate school at the University of Chicago and earned an M.S. in 1948 and Ph.D. in 1951, both in cloud physics. While writing his Ph.D. dissertation, he worked briefly at the New Mexico School of Mines in Socorro, NM. He joined the faculty at the University of Chicago when he completed his doctorate. He conducted dozens of major research projects, funded mostly by the National Science Foundation, and taught cloud physics and atmospheric physics to graduate students. Among many other findings, his research projects are most notably credited with discovering cell organization (circulation) in thunderstorms and the coalescence-freezing mechanism of precipitation in clouds. He is author or co-author of numerous research papers, and is co-author of The Thunderstorm, published in 1949, but still considered an important reading in meteorology.

He received many recognitions, including Phi Beta Kappa, the Silver Medal from the U.S. Department of Commerce, the Rossby Research Medal from the American Meteorological Society, the Losey Award from the Institute of Aeronautical Sciences, President of the American Meteorological Society, and an honorary doctorate degree from North Carolina State University. He was one of three founding fathers of a multi-university partnership for atmospheric research (UCAR and NCAR), funded by the National Science Foundation.

While teaching at the University of Chicago, Roscoe and Mary Ann lived in Riverside, IL. After retiring in 1991, Roscoe and Mary Ann moved to Cary, NC, where he accepted a position of Scholar in Residence with the Department of Marine, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at N. C. State University. He was a member of the Kirk of Kildaire Presbyterian Church in Cary.

His hobbies included camping, wood working, gardening and genealogy. Roscoe is survived by his wife (Mary Ann) of 74 years, three daughters (Ruth Ann Ashton of Elkhart, IN; Nancy Billingslea of Montgomery, AL; and Jean Barwig of Longwood, FL), one son (Richard Braham of Raleigh, NC), eight grandchildren, and 14 great-grandchildren.

Public visitation will be held from 7 pm to 9:00 pm on June 9 at Brown-Wynne Funeral Home at 200 Southeast Maynard Rd., in Cary, NC. A memorial service will be held on June 10 at 2 pm at the Glenaire Retirement Community at 4000 Glenaire Cir., Cary, and on June 17 in Dayton, OH. Burial will be in the family plot at Woodland Cemetery in Xenia, OH. Donations to the Edith Braham Endowment at the N.C. State University Library are welcome.


  • Visitation

    vendredi, 9 juin , 2017

  • Memorial Service

    samedi, 10 juin , 2017

  • Visitation

    samedi, 17 juin , 2017

  • Funeral Service

    samedi, 17 juin , 2017


Roscoe Riley Braham Jr.


Brian Smith

10 septembre , 2017

Roscoe was a very kind and helpful man. As a graduate student at the U of C, he helped me several times with suggestions and solutions to problems. I thoroughly enjoyed him as an adviser and instructor. His cloud physics class was one of the best classes I ever attended. His presence will be missed greatly.

Matthew Rodina Jr.

12 juin , 2017

As a U of C alum I had always been interested in aviation history. On a visit to the campus I decided to drop into the Geophysical Sciences Dept. to see if someone there knew about the Thunderstorm Project. I was directed to an office and found a very pleasant gentleman who claimed he knew something a bout it. This is how I met Roscoe Brahham. If that wern't enough another man came into the office. It was Ted Fujita. I was awestruck on meeting two "names" in one visit. I kept in touch with Roscoe off and on as my research continued. The profession has lost a scholar and a gentleman.
.Matthew E. Rodina, Jr. (Edwardsville , IL.)

Don Lenschow

9 juin , 2017

Roscoe's contributions to atmospheric science were exceptional: An outstanding researcher, mentor, teacher and provider of service to the science community. In addition, a true and gracious gentleman.

Carmen Williams

7 juin , 2017

Many memories of Riverside visits. Roscoe was a one-of-a-kind gentleman, and I am a better person for knowing him. Love to all,

7 juin , 2017

My sincere condolences to the family. It is a blessing Roscoe lived a long life. He reminds me of Psalms 90:10, an especially strong individual.

6 juin , 2017

Barbara and I send our sincere condolences. I have fond memories of your father, he was a kind and generous man. We look forward to seeing many of you on Saturday. Love, Cousin Tom Chadwick

Andy Heymsfield

5 juin , 2017

I greatly appreciated the mentoring that Roscoe gave me under his guidance while receiving my PhD at the University of Chicago. What he gave me was the great appreciation for cloud microphysics, especially measuring cloud properties in-situ using aircraft. The level of detail that he possessed was terrific.

Tamiko Woods

5 juin , 2017

May the God of Comfort bring you peace during this difficult time


5 juin , 2017

So very sorry for your great loss of a loved one in death. Death certainly leaves a deep void in our hearts. Please find hope and comfort knowing that our loving creator will reunite you soon again on a Paradise Earth. (Luke23:43)

Leo Donner

4 juin , 2017

Roscoe was a great colleague during the years we were both at the University of Chicago. I valued his integrity; collegiality; commitment to science, the University, his research group, students, and fellow faculty; his hospitality, and concern for all.