The Life of Frederick C Gouldin

Ithaca - Frederick C. Gouldin, 77, of Ithaca died peacefully on May 29 with Fair, his wife of 54 years, at his side. He died after more than ten years of a dignified and determined battle with dementia during which he unceasingly challenged himself to realize his greatest potential as the brilliant, kind, modest, and gentlemanly scholar, athlete, and family man he was.

Fred was a firecracker, born on the 4th of July, 1943. He was the son of Jane Caskey Gouldin and James D. C. Gouldin, Jr. of Alexandria, Virginia. Fred attended St. Stephen's School in Alexandria and then Princeton University where he received both undergraduate and graduate degrees in Aerospace and Mechanical Sciences. In 1970 he joined the Sibley School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Cornell University, where he spent his professional career.

Fred's research specialty was combustion and the physics of flames, including both physical experiments and combustion modeling. He pioneered Laboratory research on premixed turbulent flames which is the backbone of today's ultra-clean stationary combustion systems. Fred also pioneered the use of fractals to characterize flame wrinkle structures which quantifies the turbulent heat release. Fred wanted his work to focus on practical applications which included rocket propulsion, waste incineration pollution mitigation, gas turbine combustion, incineration of chemical weapons, fire suppression, and the production of biochar for improving soil in developing countries. In addition to his membership in numerous professional societies, Fred held administrative positions at the University, including Director of the NYS Solid Waste Combustion Institute, Associate Dean of the Faculty and President of the Cornell Association of Professors Emeriti. Throughout his career, teaching and mentoring students afforded his greatest source of satisfaction.

An avid sailor, Fred spent much of Ithaca's summer months on Cayuga Lake. The story about Fred's purchase of his first boat is one that he loved to tell: In June of 1970, he learned, to his surprise, that his Cornell salary for the academic year was being paid over 12 instead of 9 months. He received his first "extra" paycheck and took it down to McPherson's Sailing and enthusiastically purchased a red Sunfish. And so began Fred's lifelong love of sailing. Fred and Fair spent many summer Sundays racing with the Cayuga Lake Cruising fleet and they were thirty-year members of the Ithaca Yacht Club where Fred was a Commodore. Fred was also an active Rotarian; he was a past President and forty-year member of the Ithaca Rotary Club, and a Paul Harris Fellow many times over.

Fred suffered badly with asthma as a child and thought of himself as weak and sickly until he went to summer camp where the athlete in him was nurtured into a proficient marksman, runner and notable wrestler. Fred lettered in football, wrestling and track at St Stephen's. In his senior year, the football team went undefeated and were IAC champions. At Princeton, Fred went on to participate in track, wrestling and football. He was a member of Princeton's famous 1964 football team, which completed a perfect 9-0 season on their way to the Ivy League championship. After college, Fred's many favorite lifetime sports included sailing, bicycling, running, skiing, hiking and tennis, but there was hardly a sport he didn't enthusiastically try, including tossing the caber and throwing the 35-pound hammer at the Scottish Highland Games on Grandfather Mountain in North Carolina. After moving to Kendal, Fred continued to find pleasure and comfort in physical activity, walking two miles a day until a few weeks before his death.

Fred is survived by his wife Fair and their two daughters, Ann Kay and her husband Andrew and sons Will and Charlie of Washington, DC and Cary Gouldin of Norton, MA. He is also survived by his brother Jay and his wife Donna Gouldin of Chesapeake, VA, sister Ann Killalea and sister-in-law Marion MacRae, both of Alexandria, VA, and several nieces and nephews.

Memorial donations can be made to a fund in memory of Professor Emeritus Frederick Caskey Gouldin to support scholarships in the College of Engineering at Cornell University, 130 East Seneca Street, Suite 400, Ithaca, New York 14850.

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