Katie E.G. Thorp

October 29, 1966July 7, 2018

THORP, Katie Emaline Gunnison, PhD, 52 passed away peacefully Saturday, July 7, 2018 at her home in Bellbrook, Ohio. She was born October 29, 1966 in Pasco WA where she lived during college, then moved to Ohio where she has lived for the past 27 years. Katie earned multiple degrees culminating in a Doctorate in Materials Engineering at the University of Dayton. Katie served the United States Air Force as a civilian Principal Research Materials Engineer in the Composites Branch, Materials and Manufacturing Directorate, Air Force Research Laboratory for over 26 years. She held multiple technical and supervisory leadership positions with far reaching impacts to military aerospace systems. Katie was recognized by the Air Force through the Civilian Achievement Award, Robert T. Schwartz Engineering Achievement Award, and Outstanding Supervisor Award. Katie served the Society for Advancement of Material and Process Engineering (SAMPE) as the Global President and was recognized as a Fellow of SAMPE. She exhibited a lifelong passion for science and engineering and served the local technical community as the President of the Engineering and Science Foundation of Dayton and a member of the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base Education Outreach Executive Board. Katie inspired other women to thrive beyond cancer through involvement as Chair of the Noble Circle Project, a local cancer support program for women. She supported programs on nutritional education, the power of positivity and sisterhood. Katie recently won the Prism award from the Society of Women Engineers, which recognizes outstanding career leadership activities in a technical field, as well as leadership in professional organizations and the community. She was and active member of Hope United Methodist Church. Katie was the beloved wife of John Thorp for 26 years and a beloved daughter, sister, aunt, mentor and friend to many. She is also survived by her parents Mary Kay and Jim Britton, her five siblings and their spouses. Memorial services for Katie will be held at HOPE UNITED METHODIST CHURCH, 5980 Wilmington Pike, Dayton, OH 45459, Wednesday, July 11, 2018 at 2:00 pm. In lieu of flowers, donations in memory of Katie may be made to the Noble Circle Project ( Arrangements entrusted to the Tobias Funeral Home, Beavercreek Chapel.


  • Memorial Service Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Katie E.G. Thorp

have a memory or condolence to add?

Allan Goldberg

July 11, 2018

Katie was a very special woman who happened to be a great leader and respected member of SAMPE. She was smart, thoughtful, and considerate. I tried to make her smile or chuckle every time I saw her, especially after I became aware of the seriousness of her problems. I find it particularly amazing that she was able to do so much (including being the Global SAMPE President) while being so ill. I couldn’t have done it, and I know many others who weren’t up to it. She will continue to be an inspiration in so many ways.

Steve Gunderson (UDRI)

July 10, 2018

I was one of the first people to work with Katie after she came to Dayton to work for the University of Dayton Research Institute (UDRI). At that time we worked together in the novel field of biomimetics in the composites branch of the materials lab at WPAFB. Katie was an excellent researcher and co-worker and most importantly, one of the nicest people you could ever meet. My condolences to John and the rest of Katie's family.

DeAnna Browm

July 10, 2018

I first meet Katie presenting my Senior Design Project and she was the Government Program Manager. She was there when I got my first job with the Air Force, she was there when I got married and she has always continued to be there. I will miss her very much! John, may heaven smile upon you during this difficult time.

Arnt Offringa

July 10, 2018

I have had the honor of being in several SAMPE meetings with Katie. She was sharp and always had a useful contribution, aiming at the greater good of the group. Katie's SAMPE Fellow acceptance speech was a very special one. She referred to her youth and dreams and it was a speech filled with warmth and heartfelt emotion. What a wonderful person.