Samuel A. Elder, 78

Naval Academy professor

July 31, 2007

Dr. Samuel Adams Elder, retired Naval Academy physics professor who did hurricane research, died of cancer Friday at his Annapolis home. He was 78.

Born in Baltimore and raised in Annapolis, he was a 1946 Annapolis High School graduate. He earned a bachelor's degree in physics in 1950 from Hampden-Sydney College, where he was class valedictorian and elected to Phi Beta Kappa. He received a master's degree and doctorate in physics from Brown University.

In 1956 he began doing research at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory, and in 1964 he became a physics professor at the Naval Academy, where his father had taught. Dr. Elder retired in 2000.

He was a fellow of the Acoustical Society of America and wrote scholarly articles, including work on hurricanes.

Family members said he was a founder of nine evangelical churches in and around Annapolis area and was a former board member of the Annapolis Area Christian School.

This year he published a book, The God Who Makes Things Happen: Physical Reality and the Word of God.

A memorial service will be held at 10:30 a.m. tomorrow at Evangelical Presbyterian Church of Annapolis, 710 Ridgely Ave., where he was a founding elder.

Survivors include his wife of 52 years, the former Sylvia Maynard; six daughters, Susan E. Erikson of Escondido, Calif., Sarah M. Elder and Kathleen M. Volz of Annapolis, S. Louise Chestnut of Arnold, Sharon E. Thayer of Sutton, Mass., and Lee W. Hethcox of Goldvein, Va.; two brothers, Dr. Fred Kingsley Elder Jr. of Rochester, N.Y., and Dr. James Tait Elder of Olympia, Wash.; 15 grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren. A daughter, Sheila J. Korzep, died in 2002.

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