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23 October 2001 

Obituary Notice

MBARI ROV Pilot Stuart Stratton

Stuart Spencer Stratton, a senior pilot and technician of a remotely operated vehicle at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute in Moss Landing, California died in a motorcycle accident Friday, October 19, 2001. Stratton was participating in a race at Daytona International Speedway when he crashed and was killed instantly. He was 35 years old.

"Stuart will be deeply missed by all of us," said MBARI President and CEO Marcia McNutt. "He had a ready smile and can-do attitude that made people enjoy working with him. His skillful piloting of ROV Ventana helped MBARI researchers make new discoveries and conduct groundbreaking experiments in the deep ocean environment." 

As a pilot for MBARI's ROV Ventana, Stratton operated the vehicle and performed maintenance and equipment changes. Most recently, he piloted Ventana as it reached, for the first time, its design depth limit of 1850 meters. An Eagle Scout, he was profiled last year in Boys Life magazine for his work with ROVs and deep-sea exploration. Stratton's passion outside work was racing motorcycles. He carried an Expert rating and competed in races across the United States. 

Before coming to MBARI in August 1997, Stratton had more than 12 years experience in the commercial ROV and diving field. He completed his A.S. in Marine Technology from Santa Barbara City College in 1985. He worked as an ROV Pilot/Technician at Oceaneering International and as an ROV Supervisor/Diver at International Underwater Contractors, International Diving Systems, and American Pacific Marine. 

He is survived by his mother Marie Robertson of Vancouver, Washington and his father Bruce Stratton of Santa Barbara, California. 

Memorial services will be held Wednesday at 11:00 a.m. at the Davis Memorial Chapel in Watsonville. A celebration of life service will take place at noon on Saturday at Laguna Seca Raceway.

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Media Contact:
Debbie Meyer, (831) 775-1807, pressroom@mbari.org