Charles E. Kolb, Jr., known as Chuck to friends, family, and colleagues, died peacefully on Sunday, January 5, 2020, after a short illness.
Chuck was born May 21, 1945 in Cumberland, Md. to Doris McFarland Kolb and Charles E. Kolb, Sr. Growing up in the Allegheny Mountains, he developed a love of the outdoors, canoeing and camping with the Boy Scouts, running cross country, playing tennis, and working summers on his grandparents’ farm on Martin’s Mountain. He was also inspired at a young age by the scientists who worked with his father at Allegany Ballistics Laboratory, designing and testing missiles for the Navy. Together, these interests would shape his future career.
After earning the rank of Eagle Scout and graduating from Allegany County High School, he left Appalachia in 1963 to attend MIT. As an undergraduate, he was a reporter, and ultimately editor, of The Tech newspaper, and received the University’s highest student honor for his journalism. He earned his S.B. in Chemistry in 1967, and an M.A. and Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry from Princeton University.
He married his high school sweetheart, Susan Foote, on August 21, 1965. By 1971 he had two children, a newly-minted Ph.D., and a job at Aerodyne Research, Inc. as a Senior Research Scientist. In 1973, he and Sue settled in Sudbury, Mass. to raise their family.
Chuck became President and CEO of Aerodyne in 1985. Over the next 35 years, he led it to become a prominent research institution specializing in atmospheric chemistry, air quality, and climate. Aerodyne is a private company that functions, unusually, as a research institution, working in conjunction with public agencies, private industry, and academia.