In Memory

CPO members who have passed away.  We have fond memories of all of you.



Ed Heinhold: July 18, 1937 – April 14, 2020

Ed Heinhold was a valued member of the Central Pennyslvania Observers for many years. He served on the board of directors as the Treasurer and founded the club’s public observing program called Skywatches.


Edward J. Heinhold, 82, of Rockville, MD, died on Tuesday, April 14, 2020 at home.
He leaves his wife of 50 years, Barbara (Barnard) Heinhold, as well as four daughters, Catherine Heinhold, of Washington, DC, Alison (Peter) Melley of Gaithersburg, MD, Noelle (Michael) Fell of Annapolis, MD, and Meg Notaro. He was Opa to Sara, Liam, Aidan, Kevin, and Patrick Melley. He is also survived by his siblings Rosemarie (Clem) Quinlan, of Massapequa, NY, and James (Florence) Heinhold, of New Bern, NC.
Born July 18, 1937 in New York, New York, Ed was the son of Kurt Joseph and Bridget Ann (Geatons) Heinhold. He grew up on Long Island, and in his early years helped in the family butcher shop/grocery store, the Lawrence Avenue Market. After graduating from Brooklyn Preparatory High School in 1954, he attended the Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn and received a Bachelor of Chemical Engineering degree in 1960 and a Master of Science of Chemical Engineering degree in 1963. He then went to work as a chemical engineer at DuPont, where he would spend his entire career. After completing his Master of Business Administration degree at Widener University in 1978, he worked as a business analyst.
Ed met Barbara at a CCD (religious education) teachers’ conference in Darlington, New Jersey in 1969, and they married later that year in Camden, NJ. They lived in Alloway, NJ until 1975, when they moved to Wilmington, Delaware. Edward and Barbara retired to State College, Pennsylvania in 1997 and then moved to Maryland in 2007 to be closer to family.
Ed had a passion for his Catholic faith and for science, especially astronomy and the natural world. He was an active volunteer in his local parishes serving variously as a CCD teacher, Eucharistic Minister, lector, minister to the homebound, RCIA Director, and parish finance council member at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Woodstown, NJ, St. Mary Magdalen in Wilmington, DE, the Noonday Mass community in downtown Wilmington, Good Shepherd Catholic Church in State College, PA, and St. Rose of Lima, in Gaithersburg (where he also managed the cemetery). He served as the vice-chairman for the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown Commission on the Laity, and along with Barbara received the Prince Gallitzin Cross Award in 2002 in recognition of service to the church and community.
A lifelong amateur astronomer known for waking his young daughters in the middle of the night to view a lunar eclipse, Ed bought himself a computerized telescope with a 10-inch reflector as a retirement gift. Soon, he was active in the Central Pennsylvania Observers, organizing events for the public to go stargazing at a local state park. The telescope also made an appearance each Halloween at the bottom of the driveway so that trick-or-treaters could take a peek at the moon.
Also during retirement, Ed volunteered with the Centre Volunteers in Medicine (CVIM) clinic in State College where he began the Medication Assistance Program, which helps people in need apply for free medications from pharmaceutical companies. In 2005, CVIM named Ed Volunteer of the Year and a year later the Centre Council County for Human Services also recognized his leadership in community service.
Ed was deeply devoted to his wife Barbara, always making her feel loved and accepted. His love for his daughters knew no bounds. He made sure that they knew they could be and do anything they aspired to in life and supported them in their efforts. He was known to family and friends as a good listener and a humble man, who nevertheless enjoyed debating such topics as theology, philosophy, and the English language.
Due to current health restrictions, a private Mass of Christian Burial and interment will be held at St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church in Gaithersburg, MD on Friday, April 17. A larger memorial service will be held once restrictions are lifted. In lieu of flowers, if you would like to make a donation in Ed’s memory, please consider JSSA Hospice at or St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church at

Carolynne L. Wilson: February 21, 1942 – December 2, 2019

Carolynne Willson, 77, 8963 Wilson Lane, Huntingdon, died at 11:57 p.m. Monday, Dec. 2, 2019, at Penn Highlands Huntingdon.

Born Feb. 21, 1942, in Whittier, California, she was the daughter of Frank and Lena (Simon) Koucky. She married Cornelius A. “Gus” Wilson Dec. 8, 1962, in Whittier, California. Mr. Wilson survives at their home.

Also surviving are her children, Shannon E. Norris and husband, Charles, Huntingdon, and Rufus W. Wilson and wife, Mary, West Abington; and grandchildren, Taylor Shea, Aaron Shea, Abigail Wilson, Madisyn Wilson, Jami Norris, Kevin Norris and Matt Morris.

A brother, Herb Koucky and wife, Sue of Hesperia, California, also survives.

Mrs. Wilson attended the Abbey Reformed United Church of Christ, Huntingdon.

She was a member of the Rosebud Quilting Club, Central Pennsylvania Observer, and a leader with Huntingdon County Hoofprinters 4-H Club.

Mrs. Wilson retired from Owens-Corning Fiberglas, Huntingdon.

Her favorite things were her grandchildren and her dogs.

Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 7, at the Robert E. Peters Funeral Home, Huntingdon, with the Rev. Fred Hickok officiating. Interment will be made in Mount Zion Lutheran Church Cemetery, Stone Creek Ridge Road, Huntingdon.

Carolynne Wilson was a member of the Central Pennsylvania Observers for many years.  She participated and helped to organize many outreach activities.  She volunteered to help with various club activities including Sky Watches and Children’s Programs at the Star Parties.  Carolynne was also involved in sharing her love of Astronomy with her community.  She presented Astronomy themed programs at churches, schools and boy/cub scout meetings.

Carolynne’s generosity and willingness to share her expertise also extended to helping other club members become more familiar with the night sky and including Carolynne and her husband Gus sharing their home for an Astronomy club picnic.  If volunteers were needed for an activity that the club was participating in Carolynne was always willing to help if she could.

We miss you Carolynne.

Dr. Anthony J. Ferraro: April 4, 1931 – October 29, 2018

Anthony J. Ferraro, age 87, passed away on October 25, 2018 at Mount Nittany Medical Center. He was born April 4, 1931 in Erie, PA to Joseph and Anna Ferraro. He was married on July 6, 1958 to Carol Matheson Ferraro in Ridgway, PA. who survives him. They enjoyed 60 years of marriage together.

Tony gave several talks to the CPO during his time as a member with the club. He was especially interested in radio astronomy.

Dr. H. Juergen Wustrow: September 14, 1926 – July 28, 2016


Dr. H. Juergen Wustrow, 89, formerly of West Chestnut Avenue and Elmcroft Assisted Living, died peacefully on Thursday at The Lutheran Home at Hollidaysburg.

He was born in Erlangen, Germany, son of the late Dr. Paul and Chrystal (Wilke) Wustrow. After WWII and his medical studies, he came to Altoona to do an internship at Mercy Hospital, where he met his future wife, Mary Joyce Unverdorben. They were married on Aug. 22, 1957.

Surviving are his wife; two sons: David (Anne) Wustrow of Los Gatos, Calif., and Michael Wustrow of Freeport, N.Y.; three grandchildren: John, Eric and Allison Wustrow; a brother-in-law, the Rev. Ernest Unverdorben, O.C.D.; and numerous cousins who reside in Germany.

He was preceded in death by a son, Gerald; a sister, Charlotte (Dennis) Wright; and two brothers: Fritz (Gerda) and Klaus.

Juergen practiced medicine in Altoona as a pediatrician, retiring in 1997 after 38 years of service. He served at Mercy Hospital (Bon Secours), including a term as vice director of the medical staff. He volunteered at Easter Seals and founded the Keystone Region Poison Center at Mercy Hospital. He was recently recognized as a 50-year member of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

He was an active member of St. Rose of Lima Church, Altoona, where he was an extraordinary minister of Holy Communion and a member of various parish committees. He was also an avid gardener, enjoyed stamp collecting, listening to classical music and was a member of State College Astronomy Club.

Friends will be received from 2 to 4 p.m. and 6 to 8 p.m. Monday, Aug. 1, 2016, at The Stevens Mortuary Inc., 1421 Eighth Ave., Altoona, where a vigil for the deceased will be held. A funeral Mass will be celebrated at 10 a.m. Tuesday, Aug. 2, 2016, at St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church, Altoona. Committal will be at Calvary Cemetery, Altoona.

The family requests that memorial contributions in Juergen’s memory be made to St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church, 5514 Roselawn Ave., Altoona, PA 16602, or to Discalced Carmelite Friars of Holy Hill, 1525 Carmel Road, Hubertus, WI.

Robert Armstrong Edmonston: January 11, 1943 – July 21, 2015


Bob Edmonston, one of our longtime members died last night (July 21).  This is Bob at the Venus transit event in 2004.  For many years Bob helped with our star party by taking care of the A/V needs.  He brought his bus to the event that served as CPO headquarters.  He was always willing to roll up his sleeves and work hard to make it a success. Bob was my go to guy to solve problems having a soldering iron in one hand and duct tape in the other.  Bob and I rigged up a satellite system to televise the Penn State game at BFSP 2010 that almost got us kicked out of the park.   We spent many a night together observing from the Port Matilda mountain sight to the overlook half way up 144.  We traveled together to Frank and Judy’s house for the VA star party shooting the breeze the whole way down and back.  Bob worked for Piper many years ago and had a love for Lock Haven (he was mayor for a few years).  We’ll miss ya Bob!

On July 21, Bob Edmonston ended the journey of his life at the Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, succumbing to a stroke as a complication of leukemia. He was 72.

Bob was a man whose mind and hands were always engaged, fascinated by the next task to do, computer problem to solve, car to fix, or house to remodel. For much of his life, he used that inventiveness in service to others.
He followed a family tradition. He was the great-great grandson of Lock Haven’s first mayor, L.A. Mackey and the grandson of Calvin and Molly B. Armstrong, a couple who dedicated their lives to helping Lock Haven. Bob joined the Citizens Hose Company #5 in 1973 and never left. He was the mayor of Lock Haven from 1992 to 1995. He sat on the board of the Piper Air Museum. He volunteered for many years as an EMT and was a founding member of the Citizen’s scuba underwater search and recovery team.
His wide-ranging interests and enthusiasms led him to jobs far beyond his initial schooling. A graduate of Lock Haven High School, he studied at Emory Riddle in Florida before transferring to Northrup in Los Angeles, for a degree in aeronautical engineering in 1968. He worked for Piper Aircraft in Lock Haven, and in the 1980s, traveled the country as a Piper crash investigator.
He owned several businesses—a VW/dune buggy conversion shop and then a Kawaski dealership on Bellefonte Ave. as well as a lumber pole peeling operation in Beech Creek. He also worked four years as a manufacturing engineer for General Telephone and Electronics in Williamsport.
He was recruited out of retirement by Truck Lite in McElhattan, where he went back to work as a networking engineer on the computer team that produced LED tail lights. Bob was the master of many skills, from photography—he created his first darkroom as a teenager in an unused closet—to any kind of electronics—computers and gadgets of all sorts.
Bob loved the outdoors. He was a downhill ski instructor, a water skier, and a certified NAUA scuba diving instructor. As a member of Central Pennsylvania’s Astronomy Club, he organized star parties in the remote mountains of northern Pennsylvania. A history fan, he participated in Civil War reenactments in Florida and also provided his EMT skills.
But his greatest outdoor adventures involved vehicles of any kind. As a young man, he drove his Mini Cooper in Sports Car Club of America-sanctioned road races; he scrambled dirt bike motorcycles; and recently he enjoyed riding the backwoods in off-road Polaris RZRs with his friends and extended family.
Family counted with Bob. He was married to Ginny (née Logan) for 27 years. Although their marriage ended in divorce, they remained friends until her death in February of this year. Bob was always active in raising his two sons, Peter and David, including volunteering as a leader in the Swissdale Boy Scout Troop 56.
He maintained a warm relationship with his sons after they were grown. He welcomed David’s wife Kimberly and his first grandchildren, Logan and Gavin. On weekdays, Bob and David could be found having lunch at The Second Cup, enjoying their shared interest in solving the problems of heavy equipment. Bob was so pleased when Peter arrived home from the Philippines with wife, Richelle, and two more grandsons, Jeff and Alexander.
Both sons and their wives were at his bedside when he passed. While Bob’s active mind and hands are now still, the memories of all he accomplished will remain in the hearts of those who knew him.
The funeral service will be held Saturday, July 25, 2015 at noon at the Donald G. Walker Funeral Home, Inc., 231 High St., Flemington, Pa 17745. Family and friends will be received from 10 AM to 12 PM. Pastor Susan Champion will officiate; Interment at Highland Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions in Bob’s name will be accepted to Clinton County Relay for Life, through the funeral home.

Peter Karver Mercer: September 5, 1939 – April 9, 2015


September 5, 1939 April 9, 2015 Peter Karver Mercer, 75, of State College, died Thursday, April 9, 2015, at Mount Nittany Medical Center. Born September 5, 1939 in Pottstown, he was the son of the late Albert M. and Ethel Karver Mercer. He married Carol Rae Wasley, on August 5, 1961, who preceded him in death in November 2006. He is survived by two children, Kathy M. Kalbach and husband, John, of State College and Albert W. Mercer and wife, Jacqueline, of Holland, Ohio; four grandchildren, Elizabeth Kalbach, Kenneth Kalbach, Zachary Mercer and Ashley Mercer; and siblings, M. Susan Johns and husband, David, of Shillington, Judy Sheridan and husband, Wesley, of Chalfont, Elaine Stein and husband, Robert of Oley, and Mary Graham and husband, Walter, of Webster, N.Y. In addition to his parents and wife, Peter was preceded in death by his brother, Albert M. Mercer Jr. Peter was a graduate of Boyertown Area High School and Wyomissing Polytechnic Institute. Most of his working career was spent in the employ of the family business, A.W. Mercer, Inc. sheet metal fabricators. He last served as president of the company. As an active Penn State football fan, for many years his family would be found in the Shields’ parking lot at Penn State home games. Pete also enjoyed photography, astronomy, flying, building electronics and camping with his family. After Peter and Carol moved to State College, Peter was an active member in the choir and bell choir at Grace Lutheran Church. Following Peter’s stroke in 2005, he continued to attend Church on a weekly basis. Visitation will be 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. on Saturday, May 25, 2015, at Grace Lutheran Church, 205 S Garner St., State College. His memorial service will follow at 12:00 p.m. at the Church with the Reverend P. Stevens Lynn officiating. Interment will be private. Memorial contributions may be directed to Grace Lutheran Church, 205 S. Garner St., State College, PA 16801. Arrangements are under the care of Koch Funeral Home, State College.

Pete was an active member of the Central Pennsylvania Observers for many years helping out with the Skywatches and Black Forest Star Party.

William G. “Bill” Madara: January 15, 1942 – January 27, 2015


Altoona, passed away late Tuesday evening at UPMC Altoona. Bill was 73.

Born in Altoona, son of the late Gwin L. and Mary Jane (Shaffer) Madara. He married Mavis Crosby, October 4, 2003 in Altoona at Fourth Lutheran Church.

Surviving are his wife; step-son, Todd Nunamaker(Angie),of Berlin, PA; and cousins: Donna Smith of State College, William Clapper(Peggy) of Chillicothe, Ohio, Valerie Taylor(Scott), in VA, and Jon Mark(Beth) of Huntingdon, PA.

Bill was a 1960 graduate of Altoona Area High School and later attended the Computer Systems Institute in Pittsburgh. He later worked at the Altoona Center and then retired from the Hollidaysburg Veterans Home in 2000 where he worked in housekeeping.

He was a member of Trinity Lutheran Church, the Mountain Lodge #281 F.& A.M., the Jaffa Shrine where he was an Ushers Lieutenant, Central PA Observers – State College and Starlight Astronomy – Hollidaysburg. He was very passionate about anything to do with astronomy and meteorology.

Family and friends will be received from 2 to 4 and 6 to 8 PM, Sunday, February 1 and from 10 until the 11 AM funeral service, Monday, February 2 at Mauk and Yates Funeral Home, Inc., Juniata, with Pastor John P. Klingeman officiating. A Masonic Service will be held at 6pm Sunday. Interment at Blair Memorial Park.

Thomas Turville Thwaites: 1931 – December 25, 2014


Thomas Turville Thwaites, 83, died of heart disease on Christmas Day at Foxdale. He is survived by his wife of 61 years, Barbara, his daughter Rebecca Batt (Mitchell), his son Fredrik (Laurie), his grandchildren Emily Batt and Jeremy Batt, and his brother William (Carol). Tom graduated from the University of Wisconsin, Phi Beta Kappa, in physics in 1953. In 1959 he received his doctorate in physics from the University of Rochester and started teaching physics at Penn State. He retired in 1989. In 29 years as the faculty advisor to the Hiking Division of the Penn State Outing Club, Tom and the Hiking Division cleared trails and created new trails, including the Mid State Trail, whose 526 kilometers cross Central Pennsylvania from New York to Maryland. To help hikers enjoy the trails, Tom wrote “50 Hikes in Central Pennsylvania,” “50 Hikes in Western Pennsylvania” and “50 Hikes in Eastern Pennsylvania,” and a guide to the Mid State Trail. A memorial service will be held in early April. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Mid State Trail Association or Keystone Trails Association.

Theodore “Ted” Kominsky: October 26, 1936 – July 8, 2010


Ted was an active member of the Central Pennsylvania Observers for many years.  He was a advocate of educating the public about astronomy.  He fondly recalled the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia, PA many times over the years.  Ted could always be counted on to help out with the Skywatch events.