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Carl A. Posey

Carl Alfred Posey, Jr., Author and Former Public
Affairs Officer for NOAA and National Optical Astronomy Observatories, Dies at 84

Carl A. Posey, Jr., a prolific author of fiction and nonfiction books and a regular contributor to Air & Space magazine, died at home on February 9.
A talented natural artist, Mr. Posey had expected as a young man that he would make his way by writing and drawing comic strips. Instead, he turned to the novel and magazine journalism. When asked what he did for a living, he liked to reply with the Victorian term: writer of all work.
By the time of his death he had authored eight published novels, a score of non-fiction books, and dozens of magazine articles, most of them about science and aviation.

His Science 85 article on nuclear safeguards shared a National Magazine Award in 1986. A 1992 article for Omni on the new nuclear geography received New York University’s Olive Branch Award. Not surprisingly, nuclear safeguards inspectors would appear as characters in several of his novels.
Later, near the end of his twenty years with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), he received the U.S. Department of Commerce Silver Medal “for outstanding achievement in creating national awareness of vital research programs through expert reporting and writing.” He spent the last decade of his government career directing NOAA’s public affairs office in Boulder, Colo.
Before entering the Civil Service, Mr. Posey had worked as a newspaper artist-copywriter and as a technical writer and editor in the aerospace industry.
Born in the former Panama Canal Zone in 1933, to Carl A. Posey, an airport engineer, and the former Margaret Stapleton, Mr. Posey spent much of his youth in Panama and other Latin American countries. In the early 1940s he attended Breck School for Boys in St. Paul, Minn.
He graduated from Balboa (Canal Zone) High School in 1951. After a year at Texas A&M University, he joined the U.S. Army, trained for the infantry at Indiantown Gap, Pa., and spent the final half of his two-year enlistment as an illustrator at the antiaircraft artillery school in Ft. Bliss, Tex. He later completed his bachelor’s degree in English at Texas A&M.

Mr. Posey left NOAA in 1981 to head the Office of Communications at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA), an east-west think tank near Vienna, Austria.

In 1984 he joined the National Optical Astronomy Observatories in Tucson, Ariz., as public information officer, covering research using the large telescopes at Kitt Peak, Ariz. and in northern Chile.

In 1987, Mr. Posey accepted an editor’s position with Time-Life Books in Alexandria, VA, where he spent almost a decade on such series as Voyage Through the Universe, True Crime, and The Library of Curious and Unusual Facts. He left Time-Life Books in 1996 to pursue a freelance career and continue with his novels. (See}

A licensed pilot with a life-long association with airplanes and aviators, Mr. Posey was a contributor to Air & Space/Smithsonian from its second issue in 1986.

He is survived by his beloved wife, Ann Wadia, whom he met in Vienna, and by four children from his first marriage: Raphael, Robin, Carl III (Gus) and Honor Posey Marquez, and a granddaughter. He is also survived by Cluny, a Norwegian elkhound, some excellent friends, and the characters who live on in his novels

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