Honoring the Life of Dr. Dade W. Moeller

September 26, 2011

It is with profound sadness that we announce the death of Dade W. Moeller. He passed away peacefully at home from complications due to cancer on September 26, 2011, in New Bern, N.C. Dade enjoyed 84 years of vitality, learning, teaching, love, and laughter.

“Dade was more than our company’s* namesake,” said son Matt Moeller. “He was the very inspiration from which we built our company, and the principles by which he lived his life became our core values – professional integrity, job commitment, and technical excellence. When faced with a challenge, we often ask ourselves, ‘What would Dade do?’”

Born in 1927 in the small town of Grant, Florida, located on the intercoastal waterway, Dade came from humble beginnings where he learned the value of hard work and ingenuity. The only person from his high school to pass the V-12 Navy exam, he joined the U.S. Navy in 1944. He graduated magna cum laude from Georgia Tech in 1948 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering and a Master of Science in Sanitary (Environmental) Engineering.

After graduating, Dade became a commissioned officer in the U.S. Public Health Service, with duty stations including Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Los Alamos National Laboratory, and the Headquarters offices in Washington, D.C. Then, in 1957, under a U.S. Public Health Service sponsorship, Dade earned his Doctor of Philosophy degree in Nuclear Engineering from North Carolina State University. He began teaching radiation protection courses at the U.S. Public Health Service’s Radiological Health Training Center in Cincinnati, Ohio, and, in 1959, he joined the Health Physics Society. Dade became a Certified Health Physicist and a Certified Environmental Engineer, and, in 1961, at only 34 years old, he became the Officer in Charge at the new Northeastern Radiological Health Laboratory in Winchester, Mass., where workers studied the fallout from weapons testing and monitored children’s thyroids for the uptake of radioactive iodine. He retired from the U.S. Public Health Service in 1966.

Dade then joined the Harvard University School of Public Health, where, for his tenure of 26 years, he served in several roles, including Professor of Engineering in Environmental Health, Associate Director of the Kresge Center for Environmental Health, Chairman of the Department of Environmental Health Sciences, and Associate Dean for Continuing Education. With a special knack for connecting with his students, Dade was the perennial “owner” of the student-elected “Golden Apple” faculty award at Harvard. His textbook, Environmental Health, for which Dade published a 4th edition earlier this year, is the Harvard School of Public Health’s preferred text for its course on the topic. He proudly held the title of Professor Emeritus at the School from the time of his retirement from Harvard.

During his busy tenure at Harvard, Dade maintained a full-load of “extra-curricular” activities, all aimed at ensuring the health and safety of workers, the public, and the environment from the hazards of ionizing radiation. He was very active in the Health Physics Society, becoming President in 1971. He also served on and chaired many committees for the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, National Council of Radiological Protection and Measurements, International Commission on Radiological Protection, National Academy of Sciences, and the American Academy of Environmental Engineers. Dade was a consultant to the World Health Organization for 15 years, and, from 1988 to 1993, he was the founding Chairman of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s Congressionally-mandated Advisory Committee on Nuclear Waste.

Throughout his life, Dade earned numerous awards and appointments, including the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s Meritorious Achievement Award (1988), Distinguished Emeritus Member of the National Council on Radiological Protection and Measurements (1997), Georgia Tech Engineering Hall of Fame (1999), Health Physics Society Robley D. Evans Commemorative Medal (2003), American Academy of Health Physics William McAdams Outstanding Service Award (2005), and Harvard University School of Public Health’s Professor Emeritus Award of Merit (2006). He was a Fellow of the Health Physics Society (1984), American Public Health Association (1988), and the American Nuclear Society (1988).

In 1993, after Dade’s retirement from Harvard, his son, Matt, founded the environmental consulting company proudly bearing his father’s name, Dade Moeller & Associates, and, in 1994, established its headquarters office near the U.S. Department of Energy’s Hanford nuclear site in Richland, Wash. Matt had followed in his father’s footsteps, graduating from the Harvard School of Public Health 1984 with a Master of Science degree in Environmental Health Sciences.

“Dade’s memory, his reputation, his passion for science, and his commitment to excellence and hard work will live on through every individual that makes this company what it is,” said Matt. “Together, we are Dade Moeller.”

In addition to his Dade Moeller corporate family, Dade is survived by five children and sixteen grandchildren.

*Dade Moeller joined NV5 in May 2016.