Constantino Economos, a scientist at the Brookhaven National Laboratory and former U.S. Marine, died Monday at the Hampton Center for Rehabilitation and Nursing in Southampton, N.Y. Dr Economos was 90 and passed away peacefully of natural causes.
He was born in New York City in 1930, in the shadows of the Polo Grounds. He graduated in 1947 from Brooklyn Technical High School. He subsequently graduated from Polytechnical Institute in 1958, summa cum laude, with a Bachelor of Aeronautical Engineering degree. In 1960 he was awarded a Master of Science degree in Applied Mathematics, and a Ph.D. as a Doctor of Philosophy in Aeronautics, also from NYU Polytechnical Institute.
He began his professional career at General Applied Science Laboratory under the Italian aeronautical genius, Dr. Antonio Ferri. Dr. Economos was fond of saying Dr. Ferri was as important to America during the Cold War as Wernher von Braun was to the U.S. space program. He had recalled how Applied Science Lab had figured out hypersonic travel in the early ’60s. However, the U.S. government at the time was more focused on the space program.
Dr. Economos also worked at Princeton University’s Combustible Labs, working on interior ballistics. In 1976 he joined Brookhaven Lab as a fluid dynamics engineer until his retirement in 1999. He held a “Q” clearance, the highest civilian clearance for accessing top secret information from the U.S. government.
He was a published scientist, having written numerous papers on a variety of topics involving “Hypersonic Wind Theories” and “Combustion Chemical Boundaries,” published in periodicals at both MIT and the AIAA.
Connie, as he was known to friends and family, was a passionate Giants Baseball fan, long after they left New York to play in San Francisco. He was always keen to enter any debate with anyone over Willie Mays being the best player of all time. He loved a good margarita, and anything on the planet that had anything to do with ducks (most notably Daffy and Donald). He also enjoyed a good laugh — which he always seemed to carry with him daily. He loved wearing his goofy “I’m a Rocket Scientist” tee-shirt (complete with a Flash Gordon Rocket) and trying to convince all the bartenders that he really was one. He took his first sky dive at the age of 70, and was a member of the over-70 ski club near his resort home in Liberty, N.Y.
Dr. Economos was a resident of Riverhead, N.Y., and was predeceased by his first wife, Ruth, and his son, Michael. He is survived by his wife Agnes, his brother, Stephen (Carol); stepdaughters Karen (Robert) Bocksel and Cathy (Michael) Caruccio; daughter-in-law Christine; six grandchildren, Richard, Emily, Rebecca, Brad, Nick and Lexi; and two great-grandchildren, Max and Milo.
A wake will be held Friday, Nov. 13, from 9:30 to 11 a.m. at McLaughlin Heppner Funeral Home in Riverhead, followed by a Mass at 11 a.m. at St. Isidore R.C. Church in Riverhead. Burial, with full military honors, will be at Calverton National Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to St. Jude’s Children Research Hospital (stjude.org) or Center for Therapeutic Riding of the East End (ctreeny.org).
This is a paid notice.