Hagedorn, George Allan

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George Allan Hagedorn, age 69, of Blacksburg, Virginia, passed away on March 4, 2023. George was born in Santa Monica, CA on October 18, 1953 to Alfred Arthur Hagedorn II and Beatrice Dorothy (Mead) Hagedorn, both Cornell engineers.

He is survived by his wife, Mary Ellen Jones, his son, Charles Alexander Hagedorn, and Charlie’s wife, Susan Renee Ashlock.

George and his brother, Alfred Arthur Hagedorn III, grew up in Colorado Springs, CO. In addition to math, science, and engineering, George learned surveying, cattle-ranching, integrity, and a strong work ethic from his parents.

George graduated summa cum laude in three years at Cornell University, earned his Ph.D in Mathematics at Princeton University, and earned a postdoctoral position at Rockefeller University. Drawn by the quality of research and the community, George joined the faculty of the Virginia Tech Mathematics Department in 1980.

Professionally, George pursued rigorous mathematics at the interface between math, physics, and chemistry. His interests included molecular quantum mechanics, innovative use of semi-classical wavepackets, and time-dependent Born-Oppenheimer theory.

George cherished his collaboration with twelve graduate students and close colleagues throughout the world. He authored or co-authored 75 publications and traveled to five continents to collaborate and share results. He assisted with the organization of conferences toward simultaneous advancement of techniques in math, quantum physics, and molecular chemistry. George retired in 2014 as Director of the Center for Statistical Mechanics, Mathematical Physics, and Theoretical Chemistry at Virginia Tech.

George met Margaret A. Roston at Cornell. They married in 1977, moved to Blacksburg in 1979, and had a son, Charles Hagedorn, in 1982. They planted a small orchard and worked together to raise Charlie before and after their amicable divorce in 1991.

George met Mary Ellen Jones in 1992; they married in 1993. They celebrated the completion of her doctorate in Science and Technology Studies, then moved to a pastoral home near Pembroke. George was very supportive of Mary Ellen’s pursuits rescuing Shetland Sheepdogs. They practiced French and traveled together to France for several of George’s extended math-collaborations. They returned from Pembroke to Blacksburg in 2020.

As a father, George passed along loves of math, science, rocketry, camping, hiking, woodworking, and the outdoors to his son, who became an experimental physicist. George always emphasized getting things right. To that end, George and Mary Ellen were overjoyed when Charlie married Susan in 2016.

George loved the outdoors, making treks in the Alps as a graduate student, hiking and biking more than a hundred days each year in Virginia, volunteering with Scouts, climbing the 54 Fourteeners in Colorado, mountaineering in the Cascades, Sierra, and Mexico, and summited Aconcagua, the tallest mountain in the Southern Hemisphere, in 1996.

Throughout his life, George loved dogs, especially his St. Bernards (Willie, Louie, Lola, Amy, and Rocky) and the Shelties he shared with Mary Ellen (Darwin, Emma, Daisy, Bond, Savvy).

Beginning in 2017, George began to experience symptoms later diagnosed as progressive supranuclear palsy, a rare and presently-incurable Parkinsons-like condition. He and his family are intensely grateful for the support and care received from the wonderful staff and fellow residents of Warm Hearth Village as well as George’s personal friends and colleagues throughout his journey with PSP.

We remember George as a kind, intelligent, persistent, supportive, and loving husband, father, and scientist.

A celebration of George’s life will be held later in 2023. For notifications about the event, please send a short email to memorial@hagedorn.xyz

The family respectfully requests that in lieu of flowers, donations in George’s memory be made to one (or more) of the following CurePSP (https://www.psp.org/iwanttohelp/ways-to-give/), Warm Hearth Village Employee Growth & Development Fund (https://retire.org/donate-give/donate-click-pledge/), or Montgomery County Friends of Animal Care & Control (https://www.mcfacc.org/) — funds will support adoption of large dogs at the facility.