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In memoriam: James A. Dowling

James A. Dowling, 69, a former member of SPIE, died on July 7 in Albuquerque, NM. Jim was born and raised in Washington, D.C. and attended The Catholic University of America where he earned both a B.A. and a PhD in Physics, with a dissertation in Spectroscopy. His career as an optical scientist spanned over 40 years during which he specialized in the development of a wide variety of optical instruments, and laser propagation experiments. He led and participated in numerous field experiments related to measurements of long-path atmospheric transmission and atmospheric turbulence effects on high energy lasers. These measurements were made in such diverse places as Cape Canaveral, White Sands Missile Range, coastal California and Hawaii. Jim published over 100 journal articles, papers and technical reports and was an invited speaker at conferences both in the U.S. and abroad.

His career in optics encompassed both the public and private sectors. He worked as a research physicist at AVCO, the Naval Research Laboratory, OptiMetrics, and most recently for Applied Technology Associates in Albuquerque where he worked closely with the Air Force Research Laboratory. In 1985 he joined the Muffoletto Optical Co. as vice president, and from 1987 to 1992 he was the president and co-founder of NU-TEK Precision Optical Company in Belcamp, MD.

In addition to his accomplishments in optics, Jim pursued many varied interests during his lifetime including sailing, art, classical music, the literature of James Joyce, woodworking, gourmet cooking, collecting cars for restoration, travel in Europe and winemaking. After many years of amateur winemaking, sampling and collecting fine wines from all over the world, Jim decided to formally study viticulture and oenology. He planted a vineyard in Las Nutrias in 1996 and subsequently founded Tierra Encantada Winery in 2005 where he served as president and winemaker until his death. As part of his second career, he also served as the president of the Rio Grande Chapter of the New Mexico Vine and Wine Society and a member of the Board of Directors of New Mexico Wine Country.

Jim is mourned by his family and all who knew him as a friend, a physicist and a winemaker. He is survived by his devoted wife and companion of 23 years Pat Coil, three children and one grandchild.