Gary Troyer was described Thursday as a consummate scientist and generous volunteer.
Troyer, 68, of Richland, died Wednesday when his car hit a logging truck near Touchet. He had skipped Rotary that day to spend time helping his mother in Walla Walla, said Carl Holder, who was in several of the same organizations.
Troyer was retired from Hanford where he worked as a radiochemist, Holder said. Troyer frequently wrote Herald letters to the editor on science and energy issues and also was a regular presence at meetings on nuclear issues, including testifying in September about the value of small modular nuclear reactors before the Washington State Legislative Joint Select Task Force on Nuclear Energy.
“He was absolutely the soul of objectivity,” said Gerald Woodcock a colleague and friend. “He always was in command of his facts. If someone not thoroughly prepared took issue with him, he would absolutely bury them in facts.”
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He was president-elect and a past chairman of the Eastern Washington Section of the American Nuclear Society and had been working on a national topical meeting for the society on the linear no-threshold hypothesis for radiation exposure, questioning the effects of radiation at low levels, Woodcock said.
Troyer, with his wife, Kris, were the first to volunteer and the last to go home as they helped with Pasco-Kennewick Rotary Club projects, Holder said. Troyer was vice president of the club.
Troyer also was a co-founder of Citizens for Medical Isotopes, an organization that fought for years to save Hanford’s Fast Flux Test Facility to produce radioactive isotopes to fight cancer and other diseases.
He and his wife traveled to Kenya several times, where he volunteered as a computer science teacher, Woodcock said. He maintained the websites for several civic and scientific organizations in the Tri-Cities.
His other volunteer activities included Junior Achievement and the Boy Scouts, including work to put on an annual education day for the Nuclear Technology Merit Badge.