Paul L. Pryor
1912 - 1997
"Somewhere Over the Rainbow"
Pryor viewed the world around him both scientifically and artistically.
This rare combination made him both an exceptional photographer
and an innovator in optical physics and remote sensing. A true
magician with light, he focused on its varied manifestations and
was sensitive to its subtleties. The beauty of the natural world
profoundly inspired him, and he loved being outdoors with his
family. Paul Pryor was an optimist and shared his uplifting spirit
with a wide circle of colleagues and friends. They remember his
contagious enthusiasm for novel ideas and perspectives. He was
truly a bright light and an inspiration for the many people he
Paul Pryor passed away at his home in Dayton, Ohio,
on June 12, 1997 at the age of 85. Born in Cairo, Illinois, and
raised in Detroit, he was the son of Esther and Thomas Pryor.
In 1933, he earned a B.S. in Optical Physics and Mathematics from
the University of Michigan. Always intrigued with photography,
he worked as a professional photographer in New York City, and
later as a Staff Photographer for the National Geographic Society
in Washington, D.C. Paul Pryor moved to Dayton in 1941 to work
at Wright Patterson Air Force Base where he became Senior Scientist
of the Reconnaissance Division. During his career as a research
scientist he made several key inventions in remote sensing. He
served as an advisor to NASA during both the Mercury and Apollo
missions. He retired in 1972, but continued his work as a photographer
Since 1980, Paul Pryor spent the winter months
at his Honolulu home with his wife Dorothy. She passed away there
in February of this year. He is survived by, William and C. Robert,
his sons, and his daughter-in-law, Dianeah. He also leaves three
grandchildren, William, Jr., Randy, and Molly.
Paul Pryor was a member of the University of Michigan
Alumni Association, Sigma Xi Scientific Research Society, the
Optical Society of America, the Royal Photographic Society of
London, the Dayton Inventor's Council, the Sons and Daughters
of Pioneer Rivermen, and the Adventures Club of Honolulu. He was
a Presbyterian elder and an active member at Westminster Presbyterian
Church in Dayton.