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Dr. Paul David Luckey Sr.


Dr. Paul Luckey

Dr. Paul David Luckey Sr. was born on Nov. 3, 1894 in Laurel Hill near Dawson, Fayette County, PA, the son of Joseph M. and Sarah Catherine (Minerd) Luckey. He was a World War I veteran, noted physician, member of the Connellsville City Planning Commission and a co-inventor of an iron-lung respirator at Connellsville State Hospital.

During the First World War, Paul was a member of the American Expeditionary Forces (AEF) and was sent to England with the 318th Aero Squadron. Following his honorable discharge, he attended West Virginia University and graduated from there in 1924 with a bachelor of science. 

When Paul desired to pursue a medical school education, their millionaire neighbor Sarah B. Cochran, owner of the famed Linden Hall estate, offered to underwrite his tuition. Paul gave it serious consideration, but ultimately respectfully declined, as he calculated that his and Olive's joint income would be sufficient. 


Paul pictured in the Connellsville Daily
about an iron lung invention
to combat "infantile paralysis"

He then enrolled in Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia, and received his M.D. degree in 1926. The 1926 Clinic yearbook of Jefferson Medical College had this to say of Paul: 

A quiet studious chap who attends classes day after day and has very little to say except a "good morning" to a few friends who may happen to be near him. Paul's one hobby is reading and almost any vacant period he may be seen in the library, poring over the latest theories and experiments of medical science, which he loves to spring on his friends who have not been so fortunate to acquire such knowledge We predict for him a bright future.

At the age of 27, in Grafton, Taylor County, WV, he married 22-year-old Olive Brown (1899-1985), on Christmas Day 1921. She was the daughter of Columbus Brown. The ceremony took place in the First Baptist Church, with Paul's brother George and Olive's sister Mary as the only immediate family members witnessing the event, officiated by Rev. J.W. Brown.

The couple met while Paul was attending West Virginia University.

They had three sons, Paul "David" Luckey Jr., Kenneth Edward Luckey and Robert Allen Luckey.


Obituary, 1954

Paul served his medical internship in Pittsburgh at West Penn Hospital, followed by several years of practice in Welch, West Virginia. He earned extra income as a mechanic on Ford automobiles. He came to Connellsville and set up a solo practice in 1928. Among his duties was to regularly examine old Civil War veterans as part of their qualification for military pensions. 

During the 1920s and early '30s, Paul occasionally went with his parents and siblings to the annual Minerd-Miner Reunions held in Fayette and Somerset Counties. At the 1930 reunion, held on August 9 at Shady Grove Park in Uniontown, he served as chair of the sports committee. Other relatives helping to organize that year's event were Arnold Overholt, president; Ernest E. Minerd, secretary; sister Mary Adaline (Luckey) Malone and Frank Zearfoss, general committee; Bess (Minerd) Lemon, speakers committee; Edith (Erwin) Minerd, invitation committee; brother Andrew Luckey, refreshment committee; Frank Woodmancy, publicity committee; and Dr. Harold "Daniel" Minerd, transportation committee.

In December 1931, as a member of the Pennsylvania National Guard, Paul was appointed first lieutenant of the Medical Detachment of the 110th Pennsylvania Infantry. Reported the Connellsville Daily Courier, "The unit is now in full strength and is progressing rapidly. Members are striving to have the company ranked as one of the crack units of the 110th Regiment by the time of the Federal inspection sometime in January, 1932." In the 1930s, he was named to the Connellsville City Planning Commission.


Book naming Paul

Olive was a teacher in 1921 at Morgantown High School in Monongalia County, WV. Later, she was active in public and civic affairs in the Connellsville region. In 1956, when Connellsville celebrated its sesquicentennial (150th) anniversary, she served on the Senior Citizens Committee and was named in the official program booklet, today preserved in the Minerd.com Archives. They were members of the Methodist church, and resided at 809 Isabella Drive in Connellsville.

Sadly, Paul became ill of blocked arteries in the early spring of 1954. He was treated at West Penn Hospital and St. Francis Hospital in Pittsburgh, but his health continued to decline. He died at the age of 59 on April 7, 1954. He was laid to rest in Green Ridge Memorial Park near Connellsville. 

Paul's legacy is maintained in a feature profile in Lewis Walkinshaw's book, Annals of Southwestern Pennsylvania, Volume IV.

As a widow, Olive taught junior high English at Connellsville (PA) Joint High School System (1950s-60s). She later moved to St. Louis, MO, where she was a patient in St. Louis Geriatric Center. She died in St. Louis on Nov. 14, 1985, at the age of 86.


~ Son Paul "David" Luckey Jr. ~

Son Paul "David" Luckey Jr. (1928-2019) was born on May 18, 1928 in Pittsburgh.

David was a 1946 graduate of Connellsville High School. He received a bachelor of science in physics in 1948 from the Carnegie Institute of Technology (today's Carnegie Mellon University). He then obtained his doctorate in 1952 from Cornell University, studying under advisor R.R. Wilson.  

He married Susan Anagnost ( ? - ? ).

Their children were Suzanna Luckey, Jonathan D. Luckey and Richard Robert Luckey.

David went on to a career in experimental high-energy physics, specializing in usage of crystals in electromagnetic calorimeters to collect and measure the energy of particles that interact.   

Circa 1952 to 1958, he was an atomic physicist at Cornell. His post-doctoral research focused on 300 MeV and 1 GeV synchrotrons, technology that accelerates charged electrons through a large circle of magnets and, when approaching the speed of light, emit bright light. 

He was named in 1958 as a research scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, continuing his work with synchotrons under the leadership of Louis Osborne. In that role, he invented "light pipe" detection equipment still in use today. The family home during those years was in Needham, MA.

He was tapped by MIT in 1969 to be a senior research scientist. This involved a focus on meson production by polarized gamma rays (subatomic particles comprised of quarks that bind a particle's nucleus), working with Nobel Prize-winning Burton Richter at the U.S. Department of Energy laboratory known as SLAC; and electroproduction of hadrons (subatomic particles bound together by electric force), with Martin Pearl. Then under the guidance of MIT professor Wit Busza, he measured properties of various particles produced with high-energy protons at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab) near Batavia, IL.

David's research then took him to Hamburg, Germany, where he ws employed at Deutsches ElektronenSynchrotron (DESY) under Nobel Prize-winner Samuel Chao Chung Ting. This effort involved the MARK-J experiment, which detected and measured the direction and energy of particles known as muons.

CERN facility in Switzerland, above and below ground --
plaza and part of the 27-kilometer ring -
Courtesy CERN

When Ting relocated to the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), the world's largest center for particle physics, based in Switzerland, David likewise made the move. There, he helped develop the magnet and calorimeters for the L3 experiment at the large electron-positron collider. In also assisting in development of the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer, said Physics Today, he "was decisive in the selection of the neodymium-iron-boron alloy for its permanent magnet," 

Sadly, Susan is said to have died of a horse-related allergic reaction while touring the United Soviet Socialist Republic (USSR).

Upon retirement in 1998, at the age of 70, David held a role at CERN as academic guest of the public research university ETH Zürich. Collaborating with Felicitas Pauss, he spent his time with electromagnetic calorimeters and determining damage done to inorganic scintillators caused by hadron particles. His discoveries led to replacement of certain endcaps used in the equipment. From 2008 onward, now age 80, he was an emeritus scientist working with an MIT group led by Christoph Paus, one of the lead investigators who discovered the Higgs boson. David's specialty there was understanding performance of calorimeters interacting with large hadron colliders.

Twice over the years, writing from his home in Challex, France, near the Swiss border, David expressed appreciation for this website and provided support. 

David passed away on April 1, 2019. An obituary in Physics Today said that:

Dave was a great mentor and an inspiration to younger scientists working with him. Even in a well-advanced age, his curiosity for nature and science remained the one of a child: enthusiastic, motivated, untiring. He was an avid reader of scientific literature, where he continuously found ideas and inspiration. He can undoubtedly be considered a torchbearer for the very modern concept of interdisciplinarity in the sciences. 

Daughter Suzanna Luckey ( ? - ? )

Son Jonathan D. Luckey ( ? - ? ) received his undergraduate degree in 1980 from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. He has resided in Needham, MA and also Melbourne, FL, where he was employed by Harris Corporation as an engineer.

Son Richard Robert Luckey ( ? - ? )

~ Son Kenneth Edward Luckey ~


Kenneth Luckey

Son Kenneth Edward Luckey (1931- ? ) was born on Sept. 17, 1931. 

On March 5, 1953, at the age of 22, he married Sally Ann Neiman, daughter of Charles Neiman of Ashland, PA. The ceremony was held at the Zion Evangelical and Reformed Church of Ashland. Sally was a graduate of the Germantown Dispensary and Hospital School of Nursing in Philadelphia, and worked for Abington Memorial Hospital in Abington, PA. 

Immediately after their honeymoon, the newlyweds settled in Laredo, TX, where Kenneth was a jet pilot with the U.S. Air Force. 


Connellsville Daily Courier, March 15, 1953

They had two children, Paula Louise Hand and Christopher Luckey.


Kenneth was one of the first known cousins to graduate from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, in the Class of 1954. He was appointed to the academy by his sponsor, Rep. Anthony Cavalcante of Pennsylvania's 23rd District. While at West Point, he achieved making the dean's list. 

Before enrolling the military academy, he attended the General Motors Institute in Flint, MI. 

In 1955, he was assigned to Laredo Air Force Base in Texas, where he flew jet fighters. He eventually was promoted to lieutenant colonel, and retired from the U.S. Air Force after two decades of service. They made their retirement home in Fort Beal, CA. 

While visiting his mother in St. Louis in the spring of 1974, who was being treated in a nursing home, Kenneth arranged to stay in a local motel. There, on the night of May 6, 1974, at the age of 44, he died, presumably of a heart attack. His remains were sent to Sally's hometown of Ashland for burial. The news was printed in the Connellsville Daily Courier.


~ Son Robert Allen Luckey ~

Son Robert Allen Luckey (1936-2020) was born on Aug. 19, 1936 in Connellsville. 

As a boy in February 1942, he and his parents were sickened by gas fumes in their Connellsville home, but recovered. 

He wed Carol Hill ( ? - ? ). The couple's union endured for a remarkable 51 years.

They were the parents of Clifford Luckey, Dana Luckey and Laurel Luckey.

The family lived in California, Washington County, PA in 1974 and later relocated to St. Louis.

For more than four decades, Robert was employed as an engineer with the aircraft manufacturing giants McDonnell Douglas and Boeing at Lambert Field. Circa 1982, their address was on Craig Road in Creve Coeur, MO.

Robert enjoyed playing chess and bridge in his free time and belonged to the St. Louis Chess Center and American Contract Bridge League. He followed the ups and downs of Pittsburgh's Pirates, Steelers and Penguins sports teams but also held a place in his heart for the St. Louis Cardinals ballclub.

The Luckeys traveled widely in retirement throughout the United States, Antarctic, Australia and Europe. 

Their final home together was in Augusta, MO. Sadly, at the age of 84, Robert surrendered to the angel of death on Aug. 22, 2020. He was survived by five grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.


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