Charles I. Malme, loving husband, father, and scientist, 89, of Hingham, Massachusetts, died on April 24, 2021 at Linden Ponds. He was the husband of Jane (Hamlett) Malme, father of Robert Malme of Weymouth, Massachusetts, and Mal Malme (Meg Stone) of Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Born on August 13, 1931 in Halstad, Minnesota, Chuck grew up on the Malme family farm, an only child, helping his parents tend to the cows, chickens, and pigs and in the cold winters, sledding down tall haystacks with his many cousins. He graduated from Halstad High School as valedictorian in 1949.
Chuck graduated from the University of Minnesota with a Bachelor of Science in 1954 and served as Lieutenant in the U.S. Navy. He then earned a MS in Engineering from MIT in 1958. During this time in Cambridge, he was introduced to Jane, through the MIT Community Players, where Chuck was the lighting tech, and Jane was the director. It was fortuitous that at that time, Chuck had a station wagon, as Jane needed a larger vehicle to move props and set pieces. Chuck and Jane married in 1961 and moved to Hingham.
Chuck worked as an engineer at Bolt, Beraneck and Newman, in Cambridge, MA from 1960-1993, ultimately retiring from the position of Senior Scientist. Over the course of his career, he developed methods for determining the sensitivity of marine species including whales to underwater sound. In 1993, he founded C. Malme Engineering and Scientific Services, a consulting firm focused on acoustic engineering. He co-authored the book, Marine Mammals and Noise, published by the Academic Press in 1995.
Once, during a research trip in Alaska, a whale surfaced just a few feet from his boat. Chuck looked into the eye of the whale and felt a profound connection. That defining moment confirmed his lifelong advocacy for the protection of whales. His work created standards for ensuring that noise levels underwater would be safer for whales and other marine life.
Chuck loved the ocean and was an avid sailor. Many summer weeks and weekends were spent on family sailing trips from picturesque Hingham Harbor all along the New England coast.
He and Jane were longtime members of the Old Ship Unitarian Universalist Church in Hingham, Massachusetts, where Chuck served on the Building Committee, helping the church transition to using renewable energy to power the buildings. He also served on the Harbor Development Committee for the Town of Hingham.
Chuck and Jane loved to travel. Several summers, after visiting the family farm in Minnesota, Chuck and Jane made sure that Bob and Mal experienced many of the National Parks. Chuck would use his engineering skills to ensure everyone stayed dry in the tent during nights of pouring rain in the Rocky Mountains. Chuck especially enjoyed trips to Norway visiting with relatives in his ancestral home of Malmefjord.
He loved the symphony, preferred being behind the camera rather than in front of it, and had an endless curiosity for history, nature, and outer space.
Chuck had a very dry and understated sense of humor, and sometimes you needed an advanced degree to understand his jokes. But his laugh and gentle smile were always infectious.
In lieu of flowers, please make donations to
Friends of the Old Ship Meetinghouse or The Union of Concerned Scientists.
Memorial Services will be arranged at a later date.
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