Obituary of Werner Heinrich Terjung
Beloved Husband, Father and Grampa, Werner passed away peacefully early Sunday morning, January 28th, dying at the age of 92 of natural causes, accelerated by dementia. Still dreaming of the future and planning how to change it, Werner’s life-long love of science, books, movies, and gardening gave him endless information, allowing him to share knowledgeably at length with any audience he encountered.
Born February 27th, 1931 in Mulheim Germany, he immigrated to the United States and served during the Korean War. Marrying his wife Bettye, he drove west to California, in search of a warmer climate, ultimately settling in West Hills, with a vacation home in Hilo, Hawaii, after retiring in 1988. His love of climate led to a Ph.D in Geography at UCLA and an academic career that lasted more than two decades. During that time, he published 120 times in prestigious journals and enjoyed launching the academic career of many a grad student, one of whom writes:
“Werner was one of the first academic physical geographers in the United States to apply the systems approach to his teaching and research of physical geography and climatology. To embark on this journey of applying physical science and mathematics to his chosen field of study required several years of self-learning in calculus, physics, and FORTRAN computer programming that he was not trained in while acquiring his own graduate degrees. In 1975 Werner published a groundbreaking paper on the need for physical geographers to adopt the systems approach in the main research journal of U.S. academic geography, the Annals of the Association of American Geographers (now named the American Association of Geographers). Over the years, Werner and his Master’s and doctoral students created numerical computer models of crop yield and crop water use, urban microclimatology, and crop photosynthesis. He thought of his graduate students as being members of his research team from the very beginning which was inspiring and led to great research productivity. Werner’s involvement of his students in his published research and his graduate training/teaching led to many successful careers of his students in academia and research centers such as NCAR in Boulder, CO.”
In 1994 Werner was awarded Honors by the Association of American Geographers (AAG) for his rigorous and penetrating research and lifelong dedication to international science.
He is survived by his two daughters Jane and Nancy, his granddaughter Becky, and his niece Brigitte.
Memorial services were held at 2pm on Friday, February 9th, 2024 at Oakwood Memorial Park in Chatsworth, CA, 22601 Lassen St.
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