Haines Hooker Danforth passed away on Monday, April 12, 2010 in
Ipswich. He died of complications of Parkinson’s Disease with his
wife and son at his side.
Born in Buffalo, NY July 26, 1924, he was the son of the late Thomas
and Caroline (Hooker) Danforth. “Hook” as he was known, was an
engineer at MIT Lincoln Lab for 35 years at the Millstone Hill Radar
Observatory and Haystack Observatory in Westford. While there, he
was involved in tracking Russia’s Sputnik I, the world’s first
artificial satellite. In 1986, he was the test director of satellite
surveillance. He worked on the tracking of Venus, Mercury, and Mars,
and on radar mapping of the moon. He was part of the team that
determined the retrograde rotation of Venus.
During World War II, Hook served as a 2nd class radar
technician in the Navy. He served in the Pacific where he saw action
in Okinawa and observed the devastation of Nagasaki two weeks after
the atomic bomb was dropped. His ship transported liberated American
and English prisoners of war in Japan.
After the war, he attended Colorado College where he majored in
economics. He married the late Judith Ronning of Minneapolis in 1952
and moved to Groton, MA in 1957 where they raised their five
children. He served for three 5-year terms on the Groton Planning
Board and was active in town conservation efforts. He was also a
Trustee of the Groton Conservation Trust. He was an avid
conservationist throughout his life.
married Helen Badenhausen in 1986 and moved to Ipswich where they
made their home. Following his retirement, he founded On Location
Recordings, recording numerous CDs, concerts and demos for groups
including the Da Ponte String Quartet, The New England String
Ensemble, the North Shore Chorus, and various solo recitals
including his wife’s organ concerts. Hook was a sailor, potter and
photographer. He took up an interest in boatbuilding upon
retirement, and loved to share his interests with those around him.
leaves his wife Helen of Ipswich, and his brother, Thomas Hooker
Danforth and wife Ray of Williamsville, NY. He is also survived by
his sons Thaddeus Danforth and wife Celeste of Satellite Beach, FL
and Christopher Danforth and wife Louise of Francestown, NH;
daughters Randi Danforth and husband Robert Williams of Cairo,
Egypt; Katrina Danforth of Trieste, Italy; and Ceci Gilson and
husband Tom of Topsham, ME. He also leaves his step-children Michael
McGarty, Catherine McGarty, Louisa McGarty, and the late Matthew
McGarty, and thirteen grandchildren.
the last five years of his life, Hook thrived under the skillful and
compassionate care at Caldwell Nursing and Rehabilitation Home in
funeral service will be held Saturday April 24, 2010 at 4 pm in the
Ascension Memorial Church, 31 County Street, Ipswich. Family and
friends respectfully welcomed. Visiting hours are Friday April 23, 7
to 9 pm in the Whittier-Porter Funeral Home, 6 High Street, Ipswich.
lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the New England Forestry
Foundation, PO Box 1346, 32 Foster Street, Littleton, MA 01460,
the Essex County Greenbelt,
Eastern Avenue, Essex, MA 01929, or to the Friends of the Caldwell,
c/o Caldwell Skilled Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, 16, Green
St., Ipswich, MA 01938.