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Welcome to the memorial page for

Dr. Rexford "Rex" Earle Adelberger

March 20, 1940 ~ January 8, 2018 (age 77)

Dr. Rexford "Rex" Earle Adelberger, 77, died Monday, January 8, at his home from complications of acute myeloid leukemia.  He was born March 30, 1940, in Cleveland, Ohio, to Erwin and Emma Adelberger.  He grew up in Arlington Virginia, and for five years from 1948 to 1953, the family resided in Stuttgart, Germany.  Rex was an alumnus of the College of William and Mary and earned his Ph. D. in physics from the University of Rochester, specializing in high energy physics.  In November 1966 he married the former Patricia Carvalho of Binghamton, NY. 

Rex’s first teaching position was at Geneseo State University in Geneseo, NY.   During that time, both his son, Marc, and daughter, Kirstin, were born.  In 1973 he accepted a teaching position at Guilford College, where he was charged with building a physics department.  Over the next 35 years, he taught students not only physics, but also how to think and apply this thinking to any discipline.  

During the late ‘80s and early ‘90s Rex spent summers at the Woodrow Wilson Institute at Princeton University teaching high school teachers how to teach and inspire young students.  He led the Guilford College semester abroad program in Munich, Germany, in 1977, 1980, 1984, 1989, and 2006 inspiring students to think more globally.  He founded the Journal of Undergraduate Research in Physics, an international physics publication that was groundbreaking because of its focus on undergraduate work.  He also served as faculty athletic representative and NCAA compliance officer for the Guilford College athletic program.

Early in his teaching career, Rex led “star parties” for members of the community who were interested in astronomy.  Much later, in 1999/2000 Rex took a year’s sabbatical in Maui, working on the telescopes on Mt. Haleakala, continuing his lifelong learning process and rekindling his interest in radio astronomy.

He had a way of applying physics to real life and making it meaningful to everyone, no matter their interests or technical background.  He embodied the teaching ethos of the college and was an integral part of the lives of his students.

He was active with Boy Scouts of America as a troop leader for many years.  He assisted both his son and grandson as they worked on their Eagle Scout projects.

He was an avid singer with a fine tenor voice, singing with the Greensboro Choral Society, church choirs, and community choruses.  During his illness he greatly missed singing and attending symphony concerts and opera.  He relished his time at the family’s lake house in Virginia and golfing with the “Golden Boys”.

Rex had a special delight for his grandchildren, JT and Jacob Shepperson of Greensboro and Paige and Megan Adelberger of Honolulu, HI.  Throughout his life, he relished time with his family, teaching and inspiring his students, gourmet cooking, and golf.

He is survived by Patricia, his wife of 51 years, his son, Marc and wife Lara, of Honolulu, HI, daughter Kirstin and husband John Shepperson of Greensboro, his grandchildren, his brother Eric and wife Audra of Seattle, WA, and and a large extended family.  The family wishes to convey special thanks to Dr. Peter Ennever and his staff and consultants.

A celebration of Rex Adelberger’s life will take place on Saturday afternoon at 2:00pm April 7, at New Garden Friends Meeting with a reception to follow.  In lieu of flowers, memorials can be made to The Adelberger Research Endowment in care of Guilford College Advancement Office, 5800 West Friendly Avenue, Greensboro, 27140, or to the charity of your choice.

 Service Information

Celebration of Life
April 7, 2018

2:00 PM
New Garden Friends Meeting
801 New Garden Road At Friendly Ave
Greensboro, NC 27410

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