02 June 2022

Rest in peace Dick Kroon

I was just casually checking Facebook when I suddenly saw a posting that made me stop in my tracks. It was a posting by one of our Amsterdam professors (now emeritus). He said that Dick Kroon, my PhD supervisor, had died. What? He hadn't even retired! I still sort of hoped it was all a misunderstanding, but chances of that would be slim. It was probably true! And when later someone associated with IOPD said they had heard the news too, the likelihood of it not being true was even smaller.

Dick Kroon gone! I can't get my head around it. He hadn't even retired. I far as I know, he was still enthusiastically chasing palaeoclimate knowledge as wrung from marine cores. He was doing fascinating stuff! And he leaves a lasting legacy.

Another thing he undoubtedly leaves behind is a lot of good stories. He was a colourful character! I remember, for instance, that in Amsterdam he had once found a plot at the printer, and really loved it. He just stormed into the nearest office to show its occupant the plot, and wax lyrically about it. Said occupant dryly pointed out that he was holding the plot upside down. That didn't deter him and he just stomped into the next office to show the upside down plot again.

I also remember a lunch break where one member of our staff, who was in a long term relationship but not married, asked his married colleagues whether their wedding day had been the best day of their lives, as the cliché goes. Dick was married, but he said the best day of his life instead was one during which the Joides Resolution cored up some unusually exciting stratigraphy. He was going on about how amazing that core was, until he suddenly stopped himself and exclaimed that he just realised it was his wedding anniversary. He instructed us to say nothing were we to bump into his wife (she worked in the same building) while he would go off and sort something romantic.

In Amsterdam we also had an annual pub crawl. Teams participating in it were expected to have an act. And one year, two of our PhD students decided to just go as Dick. They donned black wigs (they were both quite blonde), faked a strong Amsterdam accent, and did the pub crawl being unreasonably enthusiast about absolutely everything. They nailed it!

When I was doing my PhD, Dick was my first supervisor. My second supervisor was Simon Jung; a very calm down-to-earth German. And I was really glad to have the two of them. Dick could always make you enthusiastic about your own research. Simon kept an eye on what was feasible.

Dick will be sorely missed. And I wish his family and friends all the strength to cope with this loss…

Me and Dick on the day of my PhD viva

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