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In Memoriam: Mass for Vincent Cushing

Nina Welding • DATE: February 16, 2018

On Monday, Feb. 19, at 8:00 a.m. in the Holy Cross Chapel, the College of Engineering will offer a Mass for Vincent Cushing, who passed away Thursday evening, Feb. 1. The celebrant will be Fr. Bob Sullivan.

Dr. Vincent Cushing, longtime resident of Annapolis, Md., passed away Thursday evening, Feb. 1, at his home, surrounded by members of his family. The eighth child of John and Harriet Webber Cushing, he was born April 17, 1924, in Evanston, Ill. In 1945, he married his high school sweetheart, Marie Donnelly. He earned degrees in physics and mathematics from the University of Notre Dame and his doctorate in physics from the Illinois Institute of Technology.

Early in his career he was a rocket scientist at the prestigious Armour Research Foundation where he worked on the development and analysis of atomic weapons and high altitude radiation measurements. He was elected president of the Chicago chapter of the American Rocket Society and hosted a weekly television science program in Chicago, as well. He rose to director of research in fluids and structures at Armour before moving to Maryland where he founded the Engineering Physics Company, which conducted varied research and development projects and where he invented an insertable electromagnetic flowmeter and related technologies.

In total, he was awarded 28 patents, presented technical papers at conferences around the world, oversaw installations of his instruments on ships, in pipes, over streams, and under Arctic ice, and established himself as the world's foremost authority on applications of magnetic induction, and as an expert in analog electronics, underwater shock waves, and soil velocity measurements near thermonuclear explosions.

He was a Senior Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers and a Fellow of the Instrument Society of America. In 1983, he was awarded the Albert Sperry Gold Medal for his “pioneering work in the theory, design and application of electromagnetic flowmeters and in non-contact flowmetering.”

In Annapolis, where he has resided for the past 32 years, he proposed a monorail solution to local traffic concerns, was active with the Weems Creek Conservancy, taught computer skills to county inmates, helped start the Light House homeless shelter, explored his faith in the St. Mary’s, St. John’s and Epiphany communities over the years, and has been a member of the Ancient Order of Hibernians.

He saw the world through science, and applied engineering skills to solve any problem. His home is filled with inventions that allowed him to remain at home years longer than others might.

In addition to Marie, his wife of 73 years, he is survived by eight children: Joan (Paul, deceased), Vince (Maryann), Nancy (John), Frank, David (Julie), Brian (MaryLee), Michael (Ann), and Dan (Paulette), as well as 16 grandchildren, 3 great-grandchildren, and many many more family and friends.

A funeral Mass celebrating his life was held Thursday morning, Feb. 8, at St. John Neumann Catholic Church in Annapolis. Burial in Chicago will be held at a later date.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Vincent and Marie Cushing Scholarship Fund (University of Notre Dame, Department of Development, 1100 Grace Hall, Notre Dame, IN 46556; write Vincent and Marie Cushing Scholarship Fund on the check.), or to the charity of your choice.

A longtime friend of the University, Vincent Cushing and his family — several of whom also graduated from Notre Dame — celebrated a family reunion on campus in 2006. It was the 100th anniversary of his father’s (John) graduation from the University. The Cushing Hall of Engineering is named after John F. Cushing, who gifted $300,000 toward the construction of a new hall of engineering.