In Memoriam: Gary S. Kephart, CHP


by Ronald L. Kathren, CHP

Former long-term Health Physics Society Cascade Chapter member Gary Kephart passed away on 14 January 2018, in Knoxville, Tennessee, at the age of 64. Despite his relatively young age at the time of his death, Gary had a long, productive, and quite diverse career in health physics and was well liked and respected by colleagues and coworkers for his professional and people skills. He began his professional career at Hanford in 1979 as a health physicist in the 200 Areas, working for Isochem and its successor, Rockwell Hanford, for a decade. He then moved on to Westinghouse for a brief stint before moving to Tennessee. At the time of his demise, he was employed by UCOR in site cleanup and remediation of the Department of Energy East Tennessee Technology Park in Oak Ridge with the goal of restoring this contaminated area back to public use in 2020. Regrettably, Gary will not be present among the celebrants.

While employed at Hanford, Gary enrolled in the University of Washington radiological sciences program at the Joint Center for Graduate Study (now Washington State University at Tri-Cities) in Richland, earning a master's in radiation science. He was an able student. His thesis research was the preparation of a calibration phantom of the arm using actual human bones containing americium for in vivo counting applications. This delicate and difficult task, requiring great skill in obtaining exact and precise measurements, was carried out in conjunction with Earl Palmer at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and with the United States Transuranium and Uranium Registries at Washington State University. The phantom he prepared is now part of the International Standards Organization precision phantom collection and is used worldwide, serving as a legacy of Gary that lives on after him.

Gary was a longtime member of the Health Physics Society, joining in 1981, was certified by the American Board of Health Physics in 1988, and was a member of the American Academy of Health Physics.

Gary is survived by his wife Jody; daughter, Julie Kephart, and her husband, Alan; son, Brian Kephart, and his wife, Becca; four grandchildren; sister, Brenda Baird, and her husband, Larry; brother, Craig Kephart, and his wife, Kathy; and brother, Eric Kephart, and his wife, Melissa.