David Charles Kadko

October 2, 1951February 20, 2022
Obituary of David Charles Kadko
Sadly we announce the passing of Dr. David Kadko on February 20, 2022. Dave left us with wonderful memories, his deep love of family and dear friends, and the legacy of his many scientific achievements. He is survived by his loving wife Esperanza Gonzalez and her extended family, as well as his sister Carolyn Doueck, brother Sam Kadko, brother-in-law Howard Doueck, and his niece Sarah Kadko Doueck. Dave was born on October 2, 1951, and raised in Brooklyn, NY, the son of Mr. Meyer Kadko and Mrs. Edna Kadko Weiss. He attended Lafayette High School where his father taught science. Dave graduated from Brooklyn College, City University of New York in 1973 with a BS in Chemistry (Magna Cum Laude). He then received an M.A. and M.Phil. degrees in Oceanography from Columbia University in 1974 and 1975, respectively. He conducted research with his advisor Prof. Wallace Broecker with support from an NSF Doctoral Fellowship, graduating with a Ph.D. from Columbia University in 1981. He was awarded a research fellowship from the National Research Council upon graduation. Dave had a long and distinguished career, including employment at the US Geological Survey (1983-1988), at Oregon State University’s College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences (1989-1990), and the University of Miami’s (UM) Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science (1990-2014). He also served as an Associate Program Manager at the NSF. In 2014, he joined Florida International University’s Applied Research Center as a Research Professor and Associate Director. He was a Fulbright Fellow at the University of Cambridge during 1996-1997 and he served on the US RIDGE and US GEOTRACES Scientific Steering Committees. Dave authored more than 70 peer-reviewed publications and was involved in numerous national and international professional activities. His early research focused on seafloor geochemistry, including early studies of hydrothermal vents. He was subsequently well known for his work with GEOTRACES, an international program whose mission is to identify processes and quantify fluxes that control the distributions of key trace elements and isotopes in the ocean, and to establish the sensitivity of these distributions to changing environmental conditions. In August of 2015, Dave led a team of researchers to the Arctic Ocean to conduct experiments that will contribute to better understanding the effects of global climate change in that system. The Arctic GEOTRACES initiative was part of an international, multiple icebreaker effort—involving the United States, Canada, and Germany—and included scientists from many nations. Dave was the lead investigator and chief scientist aboard the Coast Guard icebreaker USCGC HEALY. The international program was unprecedented in regional scope and scientific breadth. This effort marked the first time that such grand scale, coordinated geochemical measurements were performed in the Arctic Ocean. Data gathered by Dave and others will help model feedback mechanisms and future trajectories of Arctic change; the measurements establish a baseline against which future conditions will be compared. Dave loved to play basketball and golf (he had a great short game!), working in his garden, and especially fly fishing near his cabin in Montana and in the backwaters of the Everglades National Park. He is deeply missed but his scientific impacts will endure. In lieu of flowers, the family is requesting donations to the FIU Applied Research Center Foundation (link below), United Way, WLRN, Yellowstone Public Radio, Food for the Poor, and the Alzheimer’s Association. If you wish to send flowers for the Funeral Service, they may be delivered to Caballero Rivero Little Havana at 3344 SW 8th Street, Miami, FL 33135. Floral deliveries should be made for Friday, March 4, 2022 and we will transport to FIU. A visitation for David will be held Saturday, March 5, 2022 from 11:00 AM to 11:30 AM at F.I.U. Graham Center, 10955 SW 15th Terrace, Miami, FL 33199. An honorary luncheon will occur Saturday, March 5, 2022 from 11:30 AM to 1:30 PM at Graham Center, 10955 SW 15th Terrace, Miami, Florida 33199. A funeral service will occur Saturday, March 5, 2022 from 1:30 PM to 3:00 PM at Graham Center, 10955 SW 15th Terrace, Miami, Fl 33199. Fond memories and expressions of sympathy may be shared at for the Kadko family. Remembrances from Dave’s Family and Colleagues Dave’s sister Carolyn Doueck Everyone knows that as an adult, David was a force to be reckoned with; and you all know what a brilliant scientist he was. Let me tell you who he was before all of that. He was strong, always determined, bright, lively, and very curious. He was not easily deterred. When he was bullied as a young boy, by a much older, stronger boy he was determined to change that. This was an influence to a part of the man he was to become; physically and mentally strong, with a good sense of social justice. When he decided he wanted to play the flute, he bought a secondhand instrument on his own, with his own money; and of course, taught himself to play it. As a curious young boy, after an appendectomy, he insisted that the doctor show it to him. He thought it looked like a worm. And of course, his love of fishing. This love started in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, continued in upstate NY at our aunt’s house; and was always a part of his life. Raised in Brooklyn. We walked to our local public school from kindergarten through 8th grade, PS 99. He went to Lafayette HS, where his father taught science. He then went to Brooklyn College, where his father had been in its 13th graduating class. His father was a Russian immigrant coming to US as a boy. His mother was born and raised in New York. Lastly, of course, he was my brother, and I will miss him. Dr. Mark Stephens, longtime associate, friend and collaborator I first met Dave in 1990. I was a graduate student at the University of Miami, and he had just been hired as an associate professor. He had a new project involving the use of radioactive tracers to study the carbon cycle in the equatorial Pacific. The study appealed to me, and I joined his lab to pursue my PhD under his mentorship. Soon I was off to Hawaii and Tahiti to take part in the JGOFS EqPac cruise. Over the next few years, as I worked towards my degree, Dave gave me a lot of space to make the project my own with just enough nudging to keep things on track. We had developed a good working relationship where our two very different personalities could not just coexist, but we complemented each other’s strengths as we pursued scientific discoveries in some amazing parts of the world. Over the next couple decades, at UM and then at FIU, Dave led us on some great adventures as he developed new applications of beryllium-7 as a tracer of ocean mixing, upwelling, and aerosol deposition. We shipped our pumps and tanks and fibers to Bermuda, Brazil, Ecuador, Germany, Seattle and various other ports. And there were also ice camps and icebreakers. From our first trip to the far north (in 1997 for the SHEBA project), the Arctic held a special place in our hearts. I think people in the community who knew Dave recognized his passion for science. He was focused and driven. The guy was hard core. He may have ruffled some feathers from time to time. Aside from that, he had a heck of a sense of humor. He cracked me up with his observations, which were usually spot on. Some of his colleagues have reached out to me this week and shared memories of working with Dave, and how he always answered their calls or got back to them quickly to discuss a paper or proposal. We’ll miss Dave, but hopefully we can continue making new discoveries using the techniques he developed. Drs. Ines Triay and Joseph Sinicrope - Colleagues and friends at FIU Dr. Ines Triay, Executive Director at ARC, recalls this about Dr. Kadko, “A pioneer in his field with one of the finest minds, one of the kindest hearts, and one of the most contagious laughs who never hesitated to mentor others, help those less fortunate, speak truth to power, demand excellence (especially of himself), and work tirelessly to discover the secrets of the universe. His sense of humor was unique, his curiosity insatiable, and his ability to communicate effectively impressive. An exceptional conversationalist and writer who would never use a word without asking himself whether it contributed to the conveyance of the message. We’ll always remember his kindness and his eagerness to help others while exhibiting the utmost discipline for his scientific pursuits. The impact of David Kadko on each one of our lives is priceless and his impact on Geoscience awe-inspiring.” Joseph Sinicrope, Research Scientist at ARC expressed that “I would add that he was absolutely tenacious and uncompromising in his pursuit of scientific truth, and relentlessly pushed through obstacles that detracted from its accomplishment. Mark and I were commenting this morning [that] you always knew where you stood with Dave, and this made all interactions with him incredibly honest and sincere. I am going to miss our talks, both in the office and over drinks!... Semper Fi... Joe.” Other colleagues at FIU recalled Dr. Kadko’s love of playing golf and basketball, gardening, and getting away to Montana’s Yellowstone National Park where, as an avid fly fisherman, he could think and do some of his best writing. He also had a fondness for sweets and never turned down desserts and chocolates! Dr. Paul Quay, friend and collaborator since graduate school Dave and I shared quite a bit of the NY attitude that one acquires growing up in Brooklyn, like Dave, or Queens, like me. We both went to city high schools and city colleges and then grad school at Columbia. NYC boys through and through. We shared an office at Lamont. We competed against each other whether it was on the basketball court or in class. During this past year Dave and I had our typical back and forth on a paper we were writing. He described my ideas with four letter words, and I returned the favor. We loved it. This is the way it is for two friends who respect and appreciate each other. This was what we shared for 40 years. I’m going to miss Dave and my life will be noticeably less joyful. In grad school Dave began a tradition of having Christmas dinner with me. In NY, it was at my mom’s and when Dave moved to Oregon State University and I moved to University of Washington it continued in Seattle. Good times between two NYC guys. Although Brooklyn-bred Dave was a square peg in a round hole when it came to life in Corvallis during his stay at OSU, his friendship with Jack Dymond began his love for fly fishing that lasted a lifetime. Dave and I golfed together whenever we had the opportunity. I never let him forget that I could outdrive him. He always reminded me that he won all the rounds. Drive for show, putt for dough. Dr. Bob Anderson, longtime friend and collaborator Dave was a visionary scientist who understood the importance of research in the rapidly changing Arctic Ocean. Without his leadership, the US would not have participated in the GEOTRACES coverage of the Arctic Ocean during 2015. Indeed, the Arctic Ocean was not in the decadal plan for US GEOTRACES cruises until Dave made it his mission to convince his colleagues that the Arctic was too important to pass up. Dave represented US interests at the first international GEOTRACES Arctic Ocean planning workshop in 2009. He then organized workshops involving US colleagues in 2010 and in 2012 that laid the groundwork for a US GEOTRACES expedition to the Arctic Ocean in 2015, for which he served as the chief scientist. Dave was also a pioneer in GEOTRACES synthesis efforts, combining radionuclides with trace metal data to obtain fluxes and residence times of the metals from the Arctic Ocean to the tropical Pacific. In one of his last papers, he was also able to quantify atmospheric deposition of trace elements using global satellite rainfall products. His efforts show us what is possible with GEOTRACES data while serving as a roadmap for others who follow in his footsteps. Other aspects of Dave’s activities outside of his research illustrate principles that would also benefit other scientists. Many people become Earth and Ocean scientists because of a deep appreciation for the natural world. Dave was no exception. He kept himself in good physical shape so that he could enjoy the outdoors, including fishing from south Florida to remote locations on the Yellowstone River. Just as in his role as a GEOTRACES scientist, many aspects of Dave’s life outside of his research provide examples that others would benefit from following. Mr. Gary Massoth, scientific collaborator In checking on Google Scholar, I was surprised that we were co-authors on 4 papers between 1986 and 1998, and probably shared ship time on even more of my 88 cruises. Dave contributed to our understanding of chemical reservoirs in the subseafloor using mostly Rn-222 systematics and other isotopic approaches. Early on he provided insight regarding methane fluxes from clathrate accumulations in shelf sediments, newly appreciated at the time. Regarding subseafloor hydrothermal reservoirs, he contributed to our understanding of the inventories and residence times of key chemical tracers. He extended his isotopic work to elucidate the rates of some key geochemical processes that occur in dispersing hydrothermal plumes, providing early insight regarding the significance of hydrothermal inputs to the oceans. Dr. Donald Rice, longtime friend and colleague Few people I have known wear their inner Life Force so close to the surface as Dave. Or so authentically, honestly, and effectively. It is a quality that once seen in another person is not easily forgotten and virtually impossible to imitate. Well done, Dave.. Please excuse my rambling, but I am finding this news hard to accept. It lacks symmetry -- or something. It's hard to imagine marine chemists arguing without Dave revving up the repartee. His trademark no-holds-barred newyorkishness. He was a good friend and colleague. A rambunctious little brother you can't help but love. Anything I have written about Dave could never come close to doing him justice. Please feel free to convey any of my clumsy attempts to honor him to Esperanza and the rest of his family and friends. He was every inch a decent and good man — and an endless delight to know. More than that, a faithful colleague and friend. One without a second.

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  • Esperanza Gonzalez Spouse
  • Carolyn Doueck Sister
  • Sam Kadko Brother
  • Sarah Kadko Doueck Niece
  • Howard Doueck Brother in Law

Past Services

Saturday, March 05, 2022


Saturday, March 05, 2022

Honorary Luncheon

Saturday, March 05, 2022

Funeral Service