KALAMAZOO—Abraham L. Poot, a Western Michigan University staff member, died March 27. He was 65.
Poot was a laboratory technician in the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences who joined the staff in 1995 after a long career with private industry. He was primarily affiliated with the Department of Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering and the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering.
Abraham L. Poot
Poot was responsible for supporting and maintaining a variety of computers and electronic equipment in those two departments' laboratories. While at WMU, he also became involved with Sunseeker, the University's student-designed solar race car.
The Portage, Mich., resident served as advisor for the Sunseeker project team from 2001 to 2012, when his battle with cancer eventually forced him to leave the project. His dedication to its student team and to WMU students in general were key among the reasons Poot received a WMU Distinguished Service Award in 2008-09.
Nominators praised him for having "a profound impact" on all of the varied people he came into contact with, serving as a mentor to hundreds of students and being the University's public face and spokesperson on the topic of alternative energy for audiences across the nation. One former colleague called him an example for faculty and staff campuswide while a student who worked with him on Sunseeker said he was not only a leader, but a true team member who left not when the clock said his work day was over but when the work itself was done.
Poot came to the United States from the Netherlands as a youngster in 1956. His family settled near relatives in the Kalamazoo area, and Poot graduated from Kalamazoo Christian High School. He attended Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Mich., then went on to earn a bachelor's degree in electronics engineering technology from DeVry Institute of Technology in Chicago.
He worked for several years at Wilder Engineering, a manufacturer of loudspeakers and musical instrument amplifiers. Next, Poot took a job with Continental Sound Co., developing professional sound systems for rock concerts around the Midwest and touring with various music groups as the sound engineer.
A recently married Poot moved back to Michigan in 1974. The couple put down roots in Portage and joined the St. Joseph Catholic Church of Kalamazoo. Poot began working at NWL Control Systems, where he remained for 18 years until being laid off in 1993 and starting a new career path. He worked as a contract engineer at Vickers Electromechanical in Grand Rapids for two years, then joined WMU's staff.
A funeral mass was celebrated April 1. Visit lifestorynet.com to make a memorial guestbook entry.
Memorial gifts may be directed to Sunseeker, through the WMU Sunrayce Project in care of the WMU Foundation; the St. Joseph Catholic Church of Kalamazoo; or the Animal Rescue Project in Kalamazoo.