BAR HARBOR – Thomas Huston Roderick died peacefully at home in Bar Harbor, on Wednesday the 4th of September 2013. He was born the 10th of May 1930, in Grand Rapids, Mich., to George Holmes and Louise Almira (Huston) Roderick.
He graduated from the University of Michigan in philosophy in 1952 and zoology in 1953 and from the University of California, Berkeley, with a PhD in 1959. He then joined The Jackson Laboratory in Bar Harbor, as a staff scientist in genetics where he remained for 37 years. His research included the effects of radiation on genetic material, behavioral genetics, and later bioinformatics, publishing widely in genetics and genealogy. In 1973 -1975 he worked at the Atomic Energy Commission, looking at the potential impact of nuclear radiation on humans and the world. He is credited with coining the term “genomics” and developed with others at The Jackson Laboratory the first online genetic database. During his career he co-directed the Annual Short Course on Medical and Experimental Mammalian Genetics and co-founded the Center for Human Genetics in Bar Harbor.
With a fun sense of humor and enjoyment of good conversation, he welcomed family and friends from near and far to his home. He was a talented musician, composing songs and playing the piano. He was an avid family historian and genealogist, especially interested in New England families. He participated in community activities and loved to travel. After retiring, he and his wife drove across the country and traveled to Europe many times to see relatives, attend reunions, and visit cemeteries to research family history.
Dr. Roderick is survived by Hilda Margareta (Karlsson) Roderick, his wife of 55 years; daughter, Margarethe and husband, Ira Dorfman, of Portland and sons, Daniel and Zachary; and son, George and wife, Rosemary Gillespie, of Berkeley, Calif., and sons, William and Melrose; and three nephews, Kenneth, Roderick and Huston Stolz and their families. He was predeceased by his sister, Martha Louise Roderick Stolz. He will be dearly missed by his extended family worldwide.
The Roderick’s invite family and friends to their home 1-4 p.m. Sept. 14, at 19 Seely Road, Bar Harbor. The burial will be private for members of the immediate family at Ledgelawn Cemetery, Bar Harbor.
In lieu of flowers, donations in memory of Dr. Thomas H. Roderick may be made to The Jackson Laboratory, 600 Main St., Box 610, Bar Harbor, ME 04609. Arrangements in care of Jordan-Fernald, 1139 Main St., Mount Desert.