What We Do
The Vermont Astronomical Society (VAS) deeply regrets the passing away of our fine club members. This page is dedicated to the memory of members who have left us behind on Earth and have moved on to the star land of eternity. VAS will certainly miss them.
Irving Abrams (1933-2008): Joined the VAS about 1974 as an associate member. Irv’s main interest was in astrophotography and he captured some great photos of sky events on film for many years. He enjoyed getting together with the other astrophotographers. He traveled the world and the country chasing and photographing seven total solar eclipses, bright comets, and other major astronomical events.
Conrad Bremer (1936-2008): Conrad first got involved with the VAS through its mirror making class held at the Williston Central School during the fall of 1994. Conrad ground and polished an 8″ F/5.9 mirror for his homemade Newtonian Telescope. Conrad joined the club as an associate member in 1995. Conrad was known by his nickname of “Dutch” and was very active in the club’s various activities. Dutch later became a full member and served twice on the VAS Board of Directors: June 1997 to May 2001 and Sept. 2004 to May 2006. One of Conrad’s many strengths was his mechanical engineering skills and project management experience which was a great asset to the Board of Directors. Dutch enjoyed observing spiral galaxies with his 8″ F/5.9 Newtonian and locating Messier star clusters with his 10 x 70 binoculars.
Russell Chmela (1959 – 2014): Russell joined VAS in 1983. His fine artistic talents came forth with various pencil drawings of his visual observations of planetary and deep sky objects. Russ talents for drawing and illustrations were widely used to produce the fine covers and article diagrams in the club’s newsletter “The Morning Star”.
When the club secretary stepped down in the Summer of 1985, Russ was quick to step up to the challenge. He served the club well through 3 different officers’ positions: Secretary 1985-1987, Vice President 1987-1993, and President 1993-1995.
Another area which Russell used his artistic talents were in mirror making and telescope building. Over the years he produced a variety of telescopes, including a 5” F/29 Kutter Anastigmatic Schiefspiegler, 12.5” F/6 Newtonian, and a 4.25” F/12 Planetary Newtonian.
In 1995 he moved to Arizona for employment reasons but he always maintained contact with the club. He was heavily involved with the workings of the board of directors via email. Through his involvement, he earned the nickname of “The 9th Board Member”.
Russell Chelma was the best astro- artist that the club has ever produced to date.
Terry Frink: ( 2002): In the late 1960’s, the VAS held summertime public observing sessions on the Barr Farm in Shelburne. Terry Frink was the only visitor that night and the only person to join the VAS as a result of that weeklong effort. Terry was an active and enthusiastic member, holding office, attending various club activities and, helping with the construction of the observatory and clubhouse in Underhill in 1972. Terry was Secretary / Treasurer in 1972-1973. Later when the position of Secretary / Treasurer split into two separate offices; Terry served again as Club Treasurer in 1975 – 1979. Terry eventually moved away but kept an interest in the VAS.
Kathleen “Kay” Jamison: Kay was an enthusiastic and caring member, attending as many meetings as possible, despite the crutches and wheelchair. Kay joined VAS in the club’s founding year in 1964. Kay served the club in two officer position. She was Vice President in 1966 – 1967 making her the 1st woman VP in VAS. Kay was also club secretary from 1973-1974. Kay had a smile and kind word for everyone, enjoying the company of others interested in astronomy, delighting in conversations of the planets, stars, and cosmology. When Kay retired, she moved from Burlington to Florida for her health. Despite being in Florida, Kay kept her membership current until her death.