Don Rosencrantz passed away December 11, 2022. He lived in California at the time of his death but was very active in the Kappa Alpha Society where he served as president of the alumni board for many years.
Employed as a Research Physicist for Eastman Kodak, in 1963 Don joined the University of Pennsylvania Museum’s team excavating the Yassıada Byzantine shipwreck in Turkey. There he began experiments with stereo-photogrammetry to determine the feasibility of applying aerial photographic techniques to the underwater environment.
As an Electrical Engineer with General Dynamics’ Electric Boat Division, Don was instrumental in helping to design the submersible Asherah built by General Dynamics and used on numerous Turkish shipwreck surveys from 1964 until 1967. Back at Yassıada, Don demonstrated the possibility of obtaining a three-dimensional map of an underwater archeological site from photographs obtained from the submarine’s “flight” over the Byzantine shipwreck.
In 1967, Don piloted Asherah to a depth of 280 feet to examine a target detected by sonar; the target proved to be an immense ancient shipwreck which years before had produced the well-known African Youth bronze statue now in the Bodrum Museum of Underwater Archaeology. Inexplicably, Don had taken a tambourine along on the dive, and with it noisily celebrated the wreck’s discovery. In 2019, Don was still proudly displaying the tambourine as a token of that happy occasion.
Society members and friends remember Don with the following comments:
Having visited Don a few times in recent years, I can honestly tell you that Don lived for Kappa Alpha Society. He never married and didn’t have any close relatives. As such, his KA brothers were truly his family.
Here’s to you, Don Rosencrantz – Mark Messics
We (KAAALU) owe Don a few extra Kaloses for the years he spent as board president while the house was struggling. That had to require a lot of time dealing with both the university and trying to get the house in line.
YITB – Ken Tower
Don was tireless, he almost single-handedly built and prosecuted a reduced occupancy requirement. It relieved one of the many obstacles placed by the University and kept us in the Lodge for a couple of additional years.
Here’s to you our chosen friend – Mark Yoder
I knew Don since I was an undergraduate when he showed up at every Lehigh-Lafayette game and always had a big smile. He loved KA and Lehigh. Don hung tough and was responsible for keeping the chapter alive. I will personally miss him. We had many fun phone calls and emails and he was an inspiration and did so much for KA.
YITB – Doug Stives
I remember as an undergrad, I would see a california number pop up and knew it was Don. There is an inner circle of KA in VL alums that have supported the Society through thick and thin, and Don was no exception to that.
YITB – Evan Gerber
His energy towards KA was endless and badly needed! He really helped the KAAALU by offering/agreeing to be president at a time when we had trouble filling that position.
YITB – Gary Scott, Jr.
Don was a renaissance man. When Don lived in Turkey he became fluent in Turkish and it’s cuisine. Don loved folk music and played the banjo, ukulele, and guitar. He loved cartoons, had an extensive collection of New Yorker cartoon books. Every night at 10 he logged onto a website that displayed the cartoons to be published the following day and would forward his favorites to friends. Don was a very involved member of his Kensington community, always weighing in on issues such a historic street light replacement or architecture.
– Joan Cawthon (Friend from California)