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Philip A. Welker, who had served 42 years in the Coast and Geodetic Survey, died at his home in Washington, D.C., early on the morning of December 24. At the time of his death he was 69 years old. He had been retired from the service of the survey since June 1, 1921.

Born in Toledo, Ohio, June 1, 1857, and graduating from Cornell University in civil engineering in 1878, he was appointed to the Coast and Geodetic Survey in 1879. He took part in the work of the survey throughout nearly every section of the United States, Alaska, Porto Rico, the Isthmus of Panama, and the Philippine Islands. In 1880 he was engaged in a hydrographic survey of Baltimore Harbor and at various times on surveys in Chesapeake Bay. From 1898 to 1910, as Commanding Officer of the BACHE, he executed surveys along the coasts of the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico and in the Caribbean Sea.

His surveys of the coasts of Porto Rico and off the Isthmus of Panama formed the basis for some of the first complete navigating charts of these waters prepared by the United States Government. His work in astronomy included observations for the transit of Venus over the sun in California in 1882, and observations of the annular eclipse of the sun at San Francisco in 1886.

He was representative of the bureau in the field observations connected with the survey of the boundary between Alaska and Canada and a member of the geodetic conferences held in Washington. In 1911, he was assigned to duty in the Philippine Islands and served as director of coast surveys there until 1914. He also served as a member and secretary of the Philippine Committee on Geographical Names and as a member of the Harbor Fines Commission of the Philippine Islands. Upon his return to the United States he was appointed assistant in charge of the survey office in Washington.

He was a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers, Washington Society of Engineers, Beta Theta Pi, Cosmos and Federal Clubs in Washington, the University Club of Manila, and the Philippine Club of New York. He was a member of St. John's Episcopal Church, a 32nd degree Mason, and a Knights Templar.

He is survived by his widow, who was formerly Miss Gertrude M. Lanahan, of Baltimore; a son, Philip Lanahan Welker, who is a senior at Cornell University; and a daughter, Mrs. R. Willis, of Cleveland, Ohio.


C&GS BULLETIN, 1/1927

 

 



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