CASPER mourns loss of gifted technician, much beloved friend.

July 6, 2016

WACO, TX - James "Jimmy" Schmoke, passed away Wednesday, June 29th, just two weeks before his 36th birthday. For more than 15 years, Jimmy played a key role in the growth and success of the Center for Astrophysics, Space Physics and Engineering Research at Baylor University, earning the friendship and respect of Baylor researchers and of eminent scientists from around the world who came to CASPER to conduct ground-breaking experiments in plasma physics.

A native of Waco, Jimmy came to work as a paid CASPER intern in 2001 shortly after earning his associate of applied science degree in semiconductor manufacturing technology from Texas State Technical College. He soon displayed abilities far above those expected in an intern. During his time at CASPER, Jimmy designed, built, tested, installed and maintained many of the scientific instruments and systems used in the lab's most advanced research. His work provided a solid technical foundation for CASPER's development into the internationally recognized research group it is today, with research partnerships in Hungary, Russia, and Germany.

In addition to his work in support of research, Jimmy teamed with fellow technician Mike Cook and others to design and build exhibits, sets and interactive training devices for the lab's popular Physics Circus, an outreach program funded by the United States Department of Education aimed at stimulating interest in science and engineering among K-12 students. It was through his association with the Physics Circus that, in 2005, Jimmy met a young Baylor actress named Margaret Holmes. To the delight of the CASPER family, the pair wed two years later.

Dr. Truell Hyde, CASPER director and the Vice Provost for Research at Baylor, recalls Jimmy as a highly intuitive electronics technician who made much of the lab's work possible, especially in the experimental lab. "As both a friend and a trusted colleague, Jimmy is irreplaceable," Hyde says. "Absolutely irreplaceable. He will be sorely missed."