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Hugh Bloemer

Hugh Bloemer

Photo courtesy of: Department of Geography

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University mourns death of Hugh Bloemer

Geography professor was former Faculty Senate chair


Ohio University Associate Professor Emeritus of Geography Hubertus L. "Hugh" Bloemer died on Thursday, March 10, at the age of 71 after a lengthy battle with cancer. 

He began his career at the University as an instructor and director of the Department of Geography Cartographic Center in 1971 and served in that position until his retirement in 2009.

Bloemer was promoted to assistant professor in 1977 and associate professor in 1984. He taught at Kenyatta University in Nairobi, Kenya, during a Fulbright year in 1989 and 1990. 

Recognized as a gifted cartographer, teacher, and mentor, Bloemer also served as chair of the Department of Geography from 1993-1998 and chair of Faculty Senate from 2001-2004.

"Hugh will be sadly missed and will be fondly remembered by students and colleagues for his passion, generosity, and commitment to Ohio University, the Department of Geography, and its faculty and students throughout a professional career that spanned over 30 years," said Tim Anderson, chair of the Department of Geography.

Bloemer was born in Dinklage, Germany, on Nov. 15, 1939, to Clemens H. and Regina L. Bloemer. He came to the United States in 1960 and earned his bachelor's degree in geography from the University of Cincinnati in 1966. He received his master's degree in geography from Kent State University in 1968 and his Ph.D. from the Union Institute in 1977. 

His research interests and numerous publications were in the fields of high-mountain remote sensing, environmental applications of remote sensing, and the development and application of geographic information systems for developing countries. His association with the international high-mountain remote sensing research group allowed him to travel to interesting parts of the world, including Tibet, Kazakhstan, and East Africa, where he completed three ascents of Mt. Kilimanjaro. 

One of Bloemer's former colleagues, Professor of Geography Dorothy Sack, shared her thoughts on his life.

"Hugh was passionate about geography and he was passionate about providing students with an excellent education," said Dorothy Sack, professor of Geography. "An important component of that education was helping students realize how much they could achieve. He was an energetic and inspirational teacher with lively classes that students didn't want to miss. He was also a devoted and loyal colleague and friend."

In his spare time, Bloemer enjoyed cartography, carpentry and racquetball. He is survived by his wife, Susan, and step children, Josh and Julie.

A memorial service and celebration of Bloemer's life is being planned. In lieu of flowers, friends may contribute to two scholarships through the Ohio University Office of Development -- The Regina L. Bloemer Scholarship for geography majors and the Hugh Bloemer Scholarship for geography majors in cartography and geovisualization.