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In Memoriam – Miner K. Brotherton, RIC professor emeritus


Miner Brotherton
Miner K. Brotherton, RIC professor emeritus of physical sciences who was known for his passion for sailing, died June 18 in San Jose, Costa Rica. He was 80.

Brotherton began at the RIC in 1970 and taught for 19 years. Previously, he was an instructor of physics at Keystone Junior College in Pennsylvania.

Brotherton spent two years in his backyard building his schooner, The Integrity, before setting sail from Bristol, R.I., with his wife Shirley on Sept. 11, 1981. According to a 1982 article in What’s News @ Rhode Island College, Brotherton constructed his own boat because, he said, “We couldn’t find exactly the boat we wanted.”

The Brothertons headed south and journeyed through New York harbor, sailed to Chesapeake Bay for the fall, to Florida and back, making many stops along the way. During the yearlong sail, Brotherton logged over 4,300 miles of observations and wrote more than 30 articles for print publications documenting his voyage. One of his features, “The Mystery of a Baby Turtle’s Lost Year,” was published in the April 1982 issue of Cruising World.

He wrote a book, published in 1985 and updated in 2002, titled “The 12-Volt Bible for Boats,” explaining the 12-volt electrical systems used on small boats to power everything from reading lights to pumps. In addition, Brotherton authored a number of technical reviews and articles for several publications relating to sailing and the sea.

Brotherton traveled extensively with his boat, spending many winters in the Florida Keys and most recently journeyed to Costa Rica, according to James Magyar, chair of the Physical Sciences Department.

Brotherton was a nine-year veteran of the Marines as a gunnery sergeant, helicopter flight crew.

He was affiliated with the American Association for the Advancement in Science, American Society of Limnology and Oceanography, American Association of Physics Teachers, and the American Institute of Physics.

Brotherton was present at the college this spring for the Gehrenbeck Lecture and Graduation Dinner Dance.

“Miner brought enthusiasm and a zest for life wherever he went,” said Magyar of his colleague.

He leaves three children, three grandchildren and one great-grandchild.