1947 view of Pacific Ocean from La Jolla, CA

1947 Pier at Scripps Institute of Oceanography

Dale F. Leipper

A review of the life and career of our Dad, Dale F. Leipper.

1990's Dale at the Desert Research Institute in Reno. Picture taken by Darko Koracin

School & camp memories

Texas A&M years

Naval Postgraduate School years

Music - High School & College

Letters from friends & collegues & Miscellaneous

Publications & Miscellaneous Documents

Biographical Highlights

Military Service

Dale and Virginia Leipper's 50th Wedding Anniversary May 1992 -|- Letters and documents related to the history of Oceanography & Meteorology

A Pictoral Biography

Dale F. Leipper - Life Summary

Dale F. Leipper passed away peacefully on February 29, 2004 with his wife and family by his side. Dale was a physical oceanographer and educator. Born 1914 in Salem, Ohio to Myrtle Cost Leipper and Robert Leipper, he married Virginia Harrison in May 1942.

Dale Leipper worked his way to a B.S. in mathematics at Wittenburg by playing tuba in dance bands and by working in the girl's dormitory cafeteria. He then went to Ohio State for a M.A. in mathematics. After the war, he earned a doctorate in physical oceanography at Scripps Institute of Oceanography in La Jolla, CA.

His career started as a mathematics teacher for San Diego City Schools just before World War II. He was drafted into the Army in 1941 and was assigned to the Signal Corps after basic training . While wrapping laundry in a newspaper he noticed an article about the Army needing candidates with extensive mathematics education to serve as meteorology officers in the Air Corps. He applied for Air Force meteorology duty and was in one of the first classes for training Air Corps weather officers at the Scripps Institution, University of California.

Dale researched west coast fog and stratus based on interests stimulated by trying to forecast whether bomber pilots could land when returning to the Aleutian islands after completing a mission in World War II. Ideas from his paper about fog forecasting for San Diego are still in use by forecasters.

In 1949, Texas A&M decided to start an Oceanography Department which would be one of the first of its kind. Dr. Leipper was hired to start and build this department. He served as the founding head of the Oceanography and Meteorology Department from 1949 to 1964. During this period, Texas A&M's Oceanography and Meteorology Department became a world leader in research and education.

In addition to developing basic ideas in oceanography and meteorology college education, Dr. Leipper has researched Gulf of Mexico currents and hurricane physics. A basin in the gulf is named after him and his ideas about hurricane heat sources are being used to drive current research.

In 1968 the Navy asked Dr. Leipper to head a new Oceanography Department at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey California. He served as chairman until he retired in 1980.

After retiring and moving to Reno, Nevada in 1990, Dr. Leipper did independent and also collaborative research in west coast fog and stratus with the Desert Research Institute until 2000.

Dr Leipper is author of some 90 publications and reports on oceanography and marine meteorology. including currents in the Gulf of Mexico, hurricane-ocean interaction, ocean temperature variations, and forecasting of west coast fog and stratus.

Dale has received numerous awards, recognitions, and commendation's during his life. The latest in 2002 from the U.S. Naval Meteorology and Oceanography Command for outstanding achievements and lifetime contributions.

Dr. Leipper was a member of numerous professional organizations including the American Meteorological Society, American Geophysical Union, Marine Technology Society. Phi Kappa Phi, Chi Epsilon Pi Sigma Xi, and the Air Force Reserve. He has also served as president of the American Society of Limnology and Oceanography and the Texas Academy of Science. Dr. Leipper was on the Technical Panel on Oceanography and Executive Vice Chairman of the Meteorology Panel with the U.S. Committee for the International Geophysical Year in 1957 - 1958.

He has been active in community and civic organizations most of his life including Rotary Club International, the homeowners association and water board for the Hidden Hills neighborhood, the Monterey Bay Girl Scout Council and the Monterey Bay Unit of the Wally Byam Caravan Club.

Dale Leipper is survived by his wife of 62 years, Virginia Leipper, son Bryan and daughter Diane of Reno, NV, daughter Anita, of Eureka, CA, daughter Janet, of Eugene, OR, and three grandchildren.

Contact the Dale Leipper family: family(at)leipper.org

Virginia H Leipper – A tribute to her life and achievements