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Haines Hooker Danforth

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.

He 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.

He 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.

For the last five years of his life, Hook thrived under the skillful and compassionate care at Caldwell Nursing and Rehabilitation Home in Ipswich.

His 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.

In 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, 82 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.

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