George Hudson Gilmer ’58

George Hudson Gilmer, of Boulder, passed away on November 27th. He grew up in Hampden Sydney, VA with his parents, Thomas and Betty Meredith, and four older siblings. His father was a professor of Physics and inspired three of his children to pursue careers in science.

Following four years at Davidson College, NC, George attended the University of Virginia, earning a Ph.D. in Physics. In Charlottesville, VA he met his future wife, Wilhelmina Bos from the Netherlands, a student at the School of Nursing, at a meeting of Intervarsity Christian Fellowship. George and Wilhelmina married in December of 1965 and lived in Lexington, VA where George taught Physics at Washington & Lee University. The family then moved to the Netherlands for a one-year sabbatical at the Technical University of Delft.

In 1972, George started research at Bell Laboratories in Murray Hill, NJ, and loved working there for nearly 30 years. He specialized in the field of crystal growth; modeling how crystals form at the molecular level. George was elected as a Fellow of the American Physical Society in 1987 for contributions to the understanding of atomistic phenomena in materials through computer simulations. Upon the demise of Bell Labs in 2001, George happily continued his research at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California. In the final chapter of his career he collaborated with scientists at the Colorado School of Mines in Golden, CO. Over the span of his career, he published 228 papers which have been cited over 12,500 times by other scientists. George built strong working friendships with physicists from all over the world and was appreciated by his colleagues for more than his scientific contributions. His coworkers remember him as a generous friend and mentor. Some mention that George had significantly influenced their career path with his enthusiasm. Physics, for George, was as much a hobby as a job. George and Wilhelmina hosted dinner parties for work friends and were like family to new and visiting colleagues. George taught several of his overseas postdocs to drive and helped them settle into life in the US. While in California, he initiated a weekly gathering at the local pub for beer and conversation.

George was a man of quiet but steady faith in the Lord. His faith was lived out through his integrity, humility, and generosity. In his later years, he loved living in Boulder, enjoying the beauty of the mountains and wildlife. He will be missed by his wife Wilhelmina, and his children Julie (Mike), Hudson (Catherine), Corina (John), and Hendrik (Heather). He also took great joy in his ten grandchildren, Emily, Catherine, Saskia, Charlotte, George, Jack, Nathan, Jonathan, Graham, and Avery, and two great-grandsons, Henry and Peter. A memorial service will be held in the chapel at Grace Commons Church, 1820 15th St., Boulder, on Friday, December 16th at 2 pm. Reception afterward. The family requests that any donations be made to Grace Commons Church.