Richard E. Kronauer

Gentleman farmer, expert in circadian rhythms

Richard Kronauer. (Courtesy photo)

Richard E. Kronauer, Ph.D., a decades-long resident of Harvard, passed away in Tucson, Arizona, Oct. 18, 2019, four years after the passing of his lifetime bride, Joanne E. Kronauer. Richard and Joanne moved to Harvard from Cambridge in 1953 to a farm property on Old Littleton Road, which they called Three Penny Farm after the births of their three red-headed children. It was a great place to raise children and thrive in the countryside, even though that meant a substantial commute to Cambridge, where Richard was the Gordon McKay professor of mechanical engineering and applied math at Harvard University. His contributions to the field of human circadian rhythms (sleep research) were groundbreaking; he published many papers in leading scientific journals and held patents on his mathematical modeling of circadian rhythms. His last paper (co-authored with three other well-known researchers from Harvard) appeared in the Journal of Biological Rhythms on Aug. 1 this year.

Richard loved his farm in Harvard. As a gentleman farmer, he raised sheep (whose only goal was to escape the fencing). His son, Charles, took over care of the farm after Richard and Joanne moved back to Cambridge (so that he could walk to work), and later to Arizona Senior Academy, in Tucson, for retirement. His children attended Harvard public schools, participated in the local pony club, sailed on the Harvard pond, and so much more. Richard is survived by his three children, Karen Kronauer Ganner of Houston, Texas; Charles Kronauer of Harvard; and Anne Saetren of Bergen, Norway; and six grandchildren: Nicholas Kronauer and Kristina Kronauer Schwarz; William and Erik Saetren; and Josephine and Charles Ganner.

A memorial service will be held Saturday, Dec. 7, at 1 p.m. at the Harvard Unitarian Universalist Church. A reception will follow at the home of Charles and Eileen Kronauer, 295 Old Littleton Road.

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