We lost Darrell Lewis Seeley to cancer on August 12, 2016. He was a professor of physics at Parkland College in Champaign IL and later for 22 years at the Milwaukee School of Engineering. In 2002, Darrell left MSOE to start his own laser safety consulting company and in 2011, he joined Rockwell Laser Industries as Vice President and worked for them until becoming ill. Well known in the laser safety community as a teacher and consultant, Darrell received the LIA R. James Rockwell Jr. Award in 2007.
Darrell was one of the first nine persons in the U.S. to become a CLSO (8/12/2002), a member of the BLS Board of Commissioners, a member of ANSI Accredited Standards Committee ASC Z136 Safe Use of Lasers, as well as two of its subcommittees, LIA corporate member, and a past member of the LIA Board of Directors. He was an industrial laser safety trainer in the U.S. and Canada for the LIA for more than ten years, a visiting laser scientist with the U.S. Army, Aberdeen Proving Grounds, MD; Cedar Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, CA; the Laser Institute of America, Orlando, FL; and the Austrian Research Centers, Seibersdorf, Austria as the first recipient of the Herta Firnberg fellowship there for two summers.
In fact, it was when Darrell was visiting the LIA (July 1995) that I was hired. Darrell was the first laser safety person I met. I remember him trying to update course materials while the guys in the back office teased him unrelentingly by continually swapping out the then current Z136.1 with an outdated version. I also remember at the end of the first week of work going to a co-worker’s housewarming party and joining the conga line with him, dancing in the living room. –Barbara
Darrell was an excellent teacher and a skilled instructor in LIA laser safety officer courses. I remember that students all felt that he was particularly patient and thoughtful. –David Sliney, Physicist, Consulting Medical Physicist
I met Darrell at the 2003 ILSC in Jacksonville, Florida. I was walking along the river with two friends when I saw Wes Marshall approaching in the distance, walking with a blonde-haired guy. (Wes is the white-haired guy in the blue shirt in the photo and Darrell is sitting across the table from Wes.) I had known Wes for some time and knew that he had a good sense of humor and a great laugh. I realized that the blonde-haired guy also had a big laugh, as we could hear them laughing together as we approached. The two groups merged; chatted momentarily-during which time I was introduced to Darrell- then entered a nearby restaurant for dinner. During the ensuing conversation, I found that I was drawn to Darrell by his intelligence and wit; and I sure enjoyed that laugh!
The next morning, Darrell and I got together for breakfast and I learned of his love affair with pancakes, as well as laser safety. We became professional colleagues and good friends. I had a great deal of respect and admiration for Darrell’s technical ability in laser safety, and he helped me with many difficult problems over the years.
I came to know his wife, Trisha, and learned about their children and grandchildren. After they retired to Sedona, Arizona a few years ago, I would visit with them when I was in Phoenix on business. They had a wonderful home with a spectacular view of the red rocks, for which the area is known. Darrell constructed a world-class woodworking shop and Trisha had her lap pool and bicycle. They were active in church and both had wonderful singing voices which added to the choir. Bottom line: they were happy!
I last saw Darrell in October of 2015 when I visited him and Trisha in Sedona. Darrell and I went for an aggressive hike in the red rocks and had a wonderful visit. Needless to say, I was shocked just a few months later to receive his phone call where he told me he had months to live. And now, less than a year after that visit, he is gone.
His contributions to laser safety benefited many and he was honored with the Rockwell Award for the education and training he provided to many students and technical professionals. He was honored by being named an Emeritus Member in the ANSI Z136 Committee, and provided good leadership as the secretary of the Control Measures Technical Subcommittee during the most recent revision of dot 1.
But it was his daily contributions to humanity that I will remember, for Darrell’s heart was beamed through his smile, and was as large as his laugh. –Tim Hitchcock, Consultant, LightRay Consulting