Re: Allan Acosta

It was a shock to hear of the passing of Allan; my friend, teacher and collaborator. While he had been ailing recently his passing leaves a deep sadness and it signifies the end of a very special era in my life. I met Allan on campus in 1960 when I arrived at Caltech as a foreign graduate student. He became my doctorate supervisor that year and that began a lifetime of camaraderie and friendship. Allan was unique in that he was able to slip transparently between being a teacher, a mentor and a friend thereby bridging the full spectrum of a close and enduring relationship. So many memories come to mind of this whether it was taking his classes, working with him in the lab, discussing some technical problem, critiquing my doctoral thesis, sailing or spending time with our families at his home in Altadena. He was always there to provide guidance, support and genuine personal interest. With great fondness, he always reminded me that I was his first doctoral student. I spent a couple of years after graduating as a Research Fellow working with him on several Navy and NASA contracts working in the Hydrodynamics laboratory in Guggenheim. We would spend many hours together on these programs but always go sailing on Wednesday afternoons in the “Wet Wednesday” racing series or race in some other regatta. Anchoring off Catalina on weekends to go scuba diving or fishing for abalone was another of his favorite past-times. 

Such life time recollections can never be replaced and will always be with me as i think of Allen. He changed my life and many others. To all his former students and colleagues and especially to his children Alison and Joey, who spent so much time with our family, and to Annette, our sincere condolences. We all will miss him!

Richard Wade

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