Joe Yaver

In Memoriam: Joe Yaver, 1933-2016

November 29, 2016

Joe YaverJoe Yaver, former Executive Director of SPIE, passed away at his home on 29 November 2016 at the age of 83. Yaver served as the SPIE Executive Director from November 1969 to 1993 and under his leadership the organization reached significant milestones in the areas of membership and meetings. It was during Yaver’s tenure that the SPIE headquarters was moved from Los Angeles, CA, US to Bellingham, WA US.  Yaver is credited with expanding the scope of SPIE’s Proceedings series of journal publications, the foundation for the Society’s Digital Library.  Yaver’s vision led SPIE to partner with other societies and associations, resulting in the launch of major conferences in Europe and Asia.
In his retirement, Yaver became an activist within his local community, focusing his time on protecting the environment, bringing economic prosperity to the area, and helping organize the Spark Museum of Electrical Invention in Bellingham.  The Spark Museum hosts a number of special collections highlighting innovations in electrical engineering ranging from the earliest days of scientific electoral experiments in the 1600s (Dawn of the Electrical Age) through the Golden Age of Radio (1950). 
Yaver is remembered fondly by many within the optics and photonics community.  Dr. M.J. Soileau, University Distinguished Professor of Optics & Photonics, ECE & Physics at CREOL, The College of Optics and Photonics, University of Central Florida noted, “Joe was a great innovator, had boundless energy, was full of new ideas, a risk taker, and had an intuitive understanding of how the SPIE could serve both its academic members and industry. Among his many initiatives was to extend SPIE internationally, especially into Russia and the Soviet Union.”
James Wyant, 1986 SPIE President and 2010 OSA President, added, “Joe Yaver was instrumental in advancing the mission of SPIE during critical years of the Society’s history.  He was a driven, results oriented leader who helped raise the visibility of optics and photonics globally.”
OSA and the scientific community mourn the loss of Joe Yaver and express their condolences to his wife, Agnete Yaver, and their family.