HUGO DAVID FREUDENTHAL
March 29, 1930 – January 17, 2021
Hugo, loving husband of Anita and member of the Jewish Genealogical Society of Tampa Bay (JGSTB), passed away at age 90, two months shy of his 91st birthday.
We knew Hugo as a pilot, speaker, inventor marine biologist, scientific researcher, and engineer for NASA, and member of the Coast Guard Auxiliary Squadron.
These four facts about Hugo highlight his varied accomplishments::
Hugo worked for Republic Aviation, where he designed the original space toilet used by astronauts in the NASA space program. Two years ago, I heard him speak at Temple Ahavat Shalom, where he shared one humorous family secret. While working on the waste system, he collected feces from family members that he used to test how well the space-age toilet worked at various stages of development.
As a marine biologist, his specialty was coral reef ecology. In this specialized field, he discovered a new species of symbiotic algae. In his honor, this species was named after him, Freudenthalidium endolithicum.
Hugo helped devise and build the Living Foraminifera Laboratory at the Museum of Natural History. The lab is closed to the public because it is used by researchers to enable the study of microscopic organisms from tidal flats in a near-natural environment.
He was a member of United Flying Octogenarians (cleverly abbreviated “UFO”). As a UFO member, he was one of a relatively few pilots who flew at least one time after they reached the age of 80.
Unknown to nearly all of us, Hugo also served as mentor to Michelle Burklund, daughter of Jeanne and Chris Burklund, in her quest to become a Marine Biologist.
Hugo was a long-standing member of JGSTB and a strong supporter of Anita when she served as Chair of our Program Committee. We will miss Hugo’s grace and kindness.