Obituary for Colonel Aubrey F. Messing, PhD, U.S. Army, Ret.
CAMDEN, MAINE - Colonel Aubrey Francis Messing, PhD, passed away quietly on 17 April 2018, shortly after his 90th birthday. Survivors include: his son, Brian and his wife, Tiare of Rockland, Maine; their daughters Katherine of Hollywood, California and Collette of Rockland, Maine; his son, Mark and his wife, Sandi of Boise, Idaho; his sister, Faye Miller of Greenville, South Carolina; a sister-in-law, Carol Messing of Gold Beach, Oregon; the mother of his children, Shirley Messing of Antioch, Illinois; and many nephews and nieces. He was preceded in death by his parents, Aubrey P. and Agnes (Walker) Messing of Oshkosh, Wisconsin, and brothers Guy G. Messing of Volcano, California, and Roger L. Messing also of Oshkosh, Wisconsin.
He had been an assistant Scoutmaster, a member of his church council in Yorktown, Virginia, the American Chemical Society, the fraternal order of Free and Accepted Masons of Oshkosh Lodge No. 27, a Royal Arch Mason of Rock Island Chapter in Rock Island, Illinois, a Royal and Select Mason of Webb Council in Muscatine, Iowa, a Knight Templar of Oshkosh Commandery, and a Medina Shriner in Chicago, Illinois.
Aubrey was born on 22 March 1928 and raised in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. After dropping out of high school in his senior year, he served in the Merchant Marine (1945-46) in the “black gang” with trips taking him to Rotterdam, Holland and Genoa, Italy. In 1946 he enlisted in the Army for three years. Most of this time was spent in the Panama Canal Zone, where he was a diesel and automotive mechanic. He was discharged as a Sergeant and enlisted in the Army Reserve. He was a Sergeant First Class in 1952 when he was commissioned a Second Lieutenant. In 1972 he re-entered the active army as a Lieutenant Colonel and was assigned to the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Research, Development and Acquisition at the Pentagon. As a full Colonel, he reverted back into the Reserves in 1977 and finally retired with 41-1/2 years of military service in 1988. His military education included the Command and General Staff and the Army War Colleges. He was always humbled to have been a World War II Veteran, but wore his Victory and Meritorious Service medals with pride.
Between stints, he completed his high school education and received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Chemistry from the University of Wisconsin at Madison in 1953, where he was a member of Phi Lambda Upsilon and Sigma Xi. This was followed by a Doctor of Philosophy Degree in Inorganic Chemistry from Northwestern University in 1957, and a Master of Science Degree in Systems Management from the University of Southern California in 1975. His education included learning three languages besides his native English: French, German and Russian.
Messing worked at the Oak Ridge (1957-59) and Argonne (1960-62) National Laboratories developing methods for the reprocessing of nuclear fuels, as a research chemist (1962-63) for Aerojet General studying the sensitivity of explosive materials, and for seven years (1963-70) as a Professor of Chemistry with Carthage College - initially in Carthage, Illinois and then in Kenosha, Wisconsin when the campus was relocated. As part of his research, he authored a half-dozen highly technical papers that were printed in several national publications. He then switched gears and worked (1970-71) to reduce attrition at a consortium of colleges before rejoining the military and moving to Vienna, Virginia for his Pentagon tours (1972-77). Returning to the public sector, he became a Program Manager (1977-93) of fossil fuel and advanced generation research projects with the Empire State Electric Energy Research Corporation (ESEERCo) in New York City. He retired to Yorktown, Virginia in 1993 where he spent the 15 years researching the family genealogy of the Messings and four other families. He remained in Virginia until 2016 when he moved to Camden, Maine to be near his son Brian.
There he settled into a quiet apartment with green hills, a waterfall, river, pond and a hundred ducks to contemplate. It was in this peaceful setting, surrounded by his loving sons and a daughter in law that he departed for that unknown country that awaits us all. Aubrey loved his sons very, very much and his love was returned many-fold. Everyone who met him liked him immediately. He will be deeply missed by his family and everyone who knew him. Colonel Messing will receive full honors with horse-drawn caisson, a military band, and 21-gun salute when he is interred in Arlington National Cemetery later this year. A Lutheran service and Masonic memorial was held at Burpee Hutchins Funeral Home on Friday, 4 May at 7:00 PM.