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Patrick Leehy

Professor Emeritus Patrick Leehey, who founded the Acoustics and Vibration Laboratory, died on March 4 after suffering from pancreatic cancer. He was 80 years old.

Leehey joined the faculty as an associate professor in the Departments of Naval Architecture and Mechanical Engineering after retiring from the Navy in 1964. In 1945, Leehey was part of the First Navy-Marine Corps landing party that reached the Japanese mainland at Yokosuka. He later served in the Korean War.

Leehey, who became a full professor in 1967 after only a few years on the faculty, taught graduate-level courses on flow noise, boundary layer theory, hydrofoil and propellor theory, acoustics, and structural vibration. After retiring in 1992, he continued to teach, including an imaging seminar he taught at the Edgerton Center.

Leehey was leading naval researcher

After World War II, Leehey attended graduate school with the Navy and at Brown University, earning a PhD in applied mathematics from Brown in 1950. Following his service in the Korean War, Leehey helped develop the Naval Hydrofoil craft at the Office of Naval Research, served as design superintendent at the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, and headed the newly established Acoustics and Vibration Laboratory at the David Taylor Model Basin from 1963-64.

Leehey was born in 1921, and he attended the University of Iowa and the United States Naval Academy. He graduated in 1942 and served on the battleships USS Washington and USS Wisconsin. He took part in the Third Battle of Savo Island, and was part of the Task Forces at Iwo Jima and Okinawa.

He married the former Dorothy Irene Feltus in 1944, between tours of duty. In addition to his wife, Leehey is survived by six children, a brother, and seven grandchildren.