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Professor John Robert Kane, 80, died peacefully on Thursday, May 26, 2016, following complications of a fall. He served on the faculty of the College of William & Mary, Department of Physics, for 42 years, retiring as a professor emeritus in 2007.
Born May 16, 1936, in Washington D.C., he was one of five children of Thomas J. Kane and Mary Helen Turke. He grew up in Baltimore, Md., where he attended Loyola High School and Loyola College, receiving a B.S. in physics in 1959. He received his Ph.D. in physics from Carnegie Institute of Technology, now Carnegie Mellon University, in Pittsburgh, Pa.
After coming to the College of William & Mary in 1964, Prof. Kane taught undergraduate and graduate courses and conducted research as an experimental particle physicist. With colleagues Morton Eckhause, Robert Welsh, the late Rolf Winter, and the late Robert Siegel, he was a founding member of the Physics Department’s experimental high-energy group. He considered these colleagues his close and lifelong friends.
Kane authored or co-authored more than 60 peer-reviewed scientific papers. As a senior member of the high-energy group, he supervised many doctoral students and was a co-principal investigator for a large number of National Science Foundation grants that the group was awarded. His work focused on fundamental particles called muons, pions and kaons, and it took him to research facilities throughout the United States and abroad.
Surviving are his wife of 31 years, Kathleen W. Kane, who adored him. Also surviving are sister-in-law, Rose-Marie P. Kane of Lutherville, Md., widow of his older brother Thomas J. Kane Jr., and their children Thomas J. Kane III, Mary Jeanne Ordakowski and Joanne Davis; sister, Mary Margaret Donohue of Ellicott City, Md., widow of James H. Donohue, and their children, Patricia Galvin, Kathleen Henn and Margaret Bernhard; brother, Francis R. Kane, and his wife, Patricia, of Richmond, and their children, John P. Kane and Matthew J. Kane; sister, Eileen K. Stork, and her husband, John Stork, of Cleveland, Ohio, and their children, Caitlin E. Stork, Michael P. Stork and James L. Stork; and more than a dozen great-nieces and great-nephews.
The family wishes to thank the medical staff at Woodhaven Hall, Williamsburg Landing, especially the many nurses and aides who provided him with attention and compassion during the seven days they cared for him. Their skill and kindness will never be forgotten.
Father James Glass will preside at a Mass to be held at 2 p.m. Saturday, June 4, at the Catholic Campus Ministry Chapel, the former St. Bede Church, along Richmond Road, 10 Harrison Ave. Inturment will immediately follow in St. Bede Columbarium at the current St. Bede Church, 3686 Ironbound Road. A brief reception will follow in the church commons.
If a remembrance is considered, the family requests that, in lieu of flowers, a contribution be made to the College of William & Mary (memo: Physics 0125), or to a local charity of one’s choice.
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