Edward MacPherson Hulburt

macEdward MacPherson ('Mac' to all who knew him) Hulburt died peacefully after suffering a stroke and gradual decline at his home in Woods Hole, MA on New Year's Eve surrounded by his loving family. He was 93. He is survived by his wife Joan B. Hulburt (61 years of marriage) of Falmouth, MA, his daughter, Dianne McPherson of New York, NY, son, David L.M. Hulburt of Woods Hole, MA, granddaughters, Jocelyn, Christa, and Tessa Hulburt, and nephew, Douglas Chadwick and niece, Deborah Clearman. 

Mac grew up in Washington D.C. Coming from a family of musically-inclined scientists, mathematicians, and artists who loved nature, he enjoyed playing flute and violin and considered a career as a violinist before settling on science following in the footsteps of his father, a prominent physicist. He received his undergraduate degree at the University of Rochester and his Phd from the University of Michigan, interrupted midstream by service as a Corpsman in the US Coast Guard in WW II. 

A tenured research scientist at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute since 1956, Mac was instrumental in mapping the distribution of phytoplankton species in the Atlantic Ocean and in the Pacific Humbolt Current discovering new species including Amphidinium Carterae Hulburt. His research cruises ranged from the Sargasso Sea, coastal Peru, and the Atlantic coastal regions from Long Island Sound to the Gulf of Maine. He often wrote up his papers in pencil by candlelight in the wee hours at the dining room table. In 1980, he spent a year in Teheran, Iran setting up a research lab. While his early years focused on empirical research, in his later years a growing interest in logic, philosophy, and mathematical constructs influenced the framing of his data. At the age of 92 as a WHOI Scientist Emeritus, he gave what was his final talk on May 16th, 2012 titled 'The Logical Structure of the World.' 

A lifelong four-season sailor known to take a bone-chilling foray out on Vineyard Sound on Christmas Day, he built his first wooden 16-foot sloop (Comet class) at the age of sixteen. He enjoyed extended cruises between Maryland and Maine as well as many contemplative afternoon sails out of Little Harbor. Mac loved the ballet and opera, art and architecture. 

A funeral service and burial will be held on Saturday, January 18 at 1pm at the Church of the Messiah in Woods Hole followed by a reception at Fisher House.mac

Note from David: Chebeague was a huge part of his life since he was a child. I think his best experiences centered around the yellow house on Ricker Head. He so enjoyed the people, the island rhythm, and the waters all around.


Message from Andrea Mead Harbinger: I knew him as Mackie - I am Andrea Mead (Harbison) who grew up across the road from him on Cottage Road. My mom sent an email to inform me of Mackie's passing. I will always remember his kind, gentle spirit, and me cutting through his yard to get to the front beach, and the afternoon he and I spent talking in our cottage living room (253 Cottage Rd.) in my senior year of environmental science discussing research at NOAA and Foreign Affairs Magazine.

What a good man. I will always remember that we could see from our front porch if his boat was moored in the bay. It meant they were home in the yellow house across the road.
Peace ~