Renowned laser safety teacher and consultant and 2007 Laser Institute of America (LIA) R. James Rockwell Jr. Award winner Darrell Seeley passed away on August 12, 2016 after a hard-fought battle with cancer. He was 66.
A longtime LIA corporate member and past member of the LIA Board of Directors, Seeley was also a laser safety pioneer, becoming one of the first nine people in the United States to become a CLSO
(8/12/2002). In addition, he served as a member of the BLS Board of Commissioners and the ANSI Accredited Standards Committee (ASC) Z136 for Safe Use of Lasers as well as two of its subcommittees.
Seeley established his storied laser career as a professor of physics at Parkland College in Champaign IL, and later, served for over two decades at the Milwaukee School of Engineering. In 2002, he started his own laser safety consulting company, and in 2011, joined Rockwell Laser Industries as Vice President. He was also an industrial laser safety trainer in the US and Canada for LIA for more than ten years, a visiting laser scientist with the US Army, Aberdeen Proving Grounds, MD; Cedar Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, CA; and the Austrian Research Centers, Seibersdorf, Austria.
“Darrell is fondly remembered at LIA, not only as a trailblazer in laser safety, but most importantly, as a friend,” said LIA’s longtime Marketing Director, Jim Naugle. “When I first started at LIA, he volunteered his time as an intern for us, and I remember how dedicated he was to helping us develop accurate content for our laser safety courses. He will also be remembered for his critical service on LIA’s safety committees. Darrell will always have a place in LIA’s history and our hearts.”
LIA’s Education Director Gus Anibarro remembers Darrell’s outstanding example in laser safety excellence. “I worked with Darrell for 15 years. His endless patience with LIA’s course attendees and enthusiastic effort to get our students to understand hazard calculations makes him one of my greatest mentors. It was my honor to have worked with him and learn from him. The laser safety community has lost a great instructor, and we will miss him dearly.”
Tributes from family, friends, and colleagues alike have poured in on Seeley’s online tribute wall, including that of Steve Augustine of the MSOE Physics and Chemistry Department. “Darrell was one of my first mentors when I began teaching at MSOE almost 20 years ago,” he wrote. “He was the consummate teacher, and much of the approach I take toward my job to this day is patterned after what I learned from Darrell.”
In addition to his impactful laser contributions, Seeley is best known by his friends for his woodworking workshop, and for his music and witness ministry at Sedona’s Christ Lutheran Church. He also enjoyed dancing and singing in church with his wife, Trisha.
As stated on Darrell’s tribute page, in lieu of flowers, memorials are requested for either Serenity Inn of Milwaukee or Lutheran World Relief.
The Laser Institute of America (LIA) is the professional society for laser applications and safety serving the industrial, educational, medical, research and government communities throughout the world since 1968. www.lia.org, 13501 Ingenuity Drive, Ste 128, Orlando, FL 32826, +1.407.380.1553.