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Carl Quimby Christol
updated: Mar 11, 2012, 11:01 AM
By LA Times
Carl Quimby Christol, a leading pioneer in the field of international space law, died of natural causes at his home in Santa Barbara on Feb. 22. He was 98.
Dr. Christol was a member of the faculty of the University of Southern California from 1949 to 1987 and authored many academic texts including "The Modern International Law of Outer Space," which became a primer for the field of law that evolved with man's foray into space. He served for six years as the chair of the Dept. of Political Science during his tenure at USC. A Distinguished Professor Emeritus, he received the Faculty Lifetime Achievement Award and the Dart Award for Academic Innovation. He was highly respected by his students for his academic integrity and his commitment to their intellectual growth and well-being. Christol was a retired Army Colonel and a recipient of the Bronze Star. He served in the Infantry from 1941-1946 including at the Battle of the Bulge and made initial contact with Russian forces at the Elbe River in 1945. His World War II experiences in Germany resulted in a lifetime interest in human rights. His USC course, "Politics of Peace-Human Rights" was the first undergraduate course devoted to this subject at a major American university.
He was born June 28, 1913 on the farm homesteaded by his grandparents in Dakota Territory. He grew up in Vermillion, SD, and graduated in 1934 from the University of South Dakota. He received his PhD degree from the University of Chicago in l940 and his law degree from Yale Law School in 1947.
Christol authored eight books and over 100 journal articles, many of which appeared in foreign professional publications. His early work in space law led to lectureships at universities in Sydney, Montreal, Beijing, Tokyo, Seoul, Bangkok, and Montevideo. From 1970 to 1975 he was a member of the U. S. Dept. of State Advisory Committee on International Law. He was the president of the American Branch of the International Institute of Space Law from 1973-1975, and received the Institute's Lifetime Achievement Award in 1998. He was the founding chair in 1950 of the Los Angeles County Bar Association Committee on International Law. For many years he was affiliated with the law firm of two Yale classmates, Jim and Tom Fizzolio. His former students include members of Congress, sub-cabinet officials, a Speaker of the California Assembly, a Los Angeles Deputy District Attorney and a Minister of Foreign of Affairs of Thailand.
After moving to Santa Barbara in 2004, he renewed his involvement in the work of the United Nations Association. His interest in arms control and disarmament resulted in his appointment as chair of the committee dealing with anti-personnel land mines and cluster bombs.
When asked the key to his long and productive life, Dr. Christol joked "pick your parents carefully." But he played an active role in staying young. He skied until age 85, swam half a mile a day well into his '90s, and played bridge until shortly before his death. He continued to make new friends throughout his life.
Dr. Christol was predeceased by his wife of over 50 years, Jeannette, in 2000, by his son Richard in 1983, and by three brothers, Gene, Max and Robert Christol.
He is survived by his daughter, Susan, her husband Jim Deacon, and by grandsons Dekker C. Deacon and Kyle Q. Deacon of Goleta, CA, and a host of Christol and Quimby family members.
Memorial services will be held Sunday, March 25 at 1:30 p.m. at the First Presbyterian Church of Santa Barbara, 21 East Constance Ave. Santa Barbara, CA 93105. Gifts honoring Professor Christol may be made to the Carl Christol History Award, University of South Dakota Foundation, Vermillion, SD, 57069.
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