Jarus W. Quinn, 81, who served as executive director of the Optical Society of America (OSA) from 1969 until his retirement in 1994, died on 11 August at his home in Durham, NC.
Quinn was a physicist who became the first executive director of OSA and had a profound influence on the organization's rapid growth following the development of the laser.
He was named an OSA Fellow in 1969 and was awarded the OSA Distinguished Service Award in 1993 for nearly 25 years "of enthusiastic service and leadership in the scientific community."
Last November, he was elected to Honorary Membership, OSA's highest designation. Christopher Dainty, the OSA president in 2011, said at that time, "His guidance was of fundamental importance to the growth and continued success of OSA."
Joe Yaver, who served as executive director of SPIE from 1969-1993, said he was saddened to hear about Quinn's death. As directors of the two scientific societies, Yaver and Quinn had a "very respectful and positive relationship" for more than two decades, Yaver said.
"Jarus was a real professional, a senior leader of executive directors in our field, and a gentleman of forbearance and graciousness," Yaver said. "He set a high standard for professional leadership in scientific societies."
Quinn received a PhD in physics (molecular spectroscopy) in 1964 from the Catholic University of America where he remained as a research faculty member until 1969.
He is survived by his wife, Margaret Quinn; a sister; three daughters; two sons; and seven grandchildren.