Cary News: Obituaries

Dr. Jan Frederick Schetzina

Dr. Jan Frederick Schetzina, age 71, of Cary, died Sunday, August 26, 2012 at Hospice of Wake County in Raleigh.

He was born November 29, 1940 in Moundsville, WV to the late John Schetzina and Josephine Novel Schetzina. He grew up with his sister Carol and cousin Walter “Sonny” Cheslick in Erie, Pennsylvania, where he graduated from Cathedral Preparatory School (1958).

Dr. Schetzina was a talented physics educator and researcher of international prominence. He was graced with a keen sense of humor and had a diverse range of interests and hobbies, including sports, fly fishing, and restoring classic cars. While poor health limited his activities in recent years, he enjoyed spending time with his family and derived great joy from the birth of four grandchildren.

Dr. Schetzina graduated cum laude with a BA in Physics from Gannon University (1963) and went on to earn an MS (1965) and PhD (1969) at Pennsylvania State University. He and his wife of 44 years, Patricia Crowe Schetzina, relocated to North Carolina in 1970, when Dr. Schetzina joined the faculty in the Department of Physics at North Carolina State University (NCSU) in Raleigh, NC.

A gifted teacher, Dr. Schetzina mentored numerous graduate students in a career spanning nearly four decades. He published over 230 peer-reviewed publications and delivered 140 invited talks throughout the world. In 1990, President George H.W. Bush selected his physics laboratory as the site for a visit emphasizing the importance of advanced research and technology.

Dr. Schetzina was awarded seven U.S. patents and secured nearly $20 million in research funding for NCSU. Among his many inventions, he developed a prototype of the world’s first digital camera that senses only ultraviolet light. The first demonstration of a U.S.-built blue laser was carried out in his optoelectronics laboratory. A Fellow of the American Physical Society, Dr. Schetzina also received the NCSU Outstanding Teacher Award and Alumni Research Award.

Dr. Schetzina is survived by his wife Patricia Crowe Schetzina; daughters, Cathy Schetzina Walsh and her husband, Brian of Raleigh; Dr. Karen Schetzina and her husband, Dr. Konstantinos “Gus” Papas of Jonesborough, TN; sister, Carol Osiecki and her husband, Joseph of Gilbert, AZ; 4 grandchildren, Andreas Jan Papas, Kalliopi Patricia Papas, Simon Francis Walsh, and Elliot Grey Walsh; cousin, Walter “Sonny” Cheslick of Woodhaven, MI; nieces, Dr. Kristen Osiecki and Mary Jo Osiecki; nephews, Gregory Osiecki and Douglas Osiecki.

A funeral service will be held 11:00 am Thursday, August 30, 2012 at Brown-Wynne Funeral Home, 200 SE Maynard Road, Cary, NC 27511. Burial will follow the service at Historic Oakwood Cemetery, 701 Oakwood Avenue, Raleigh, NC 27601. The Rev. Dr. Kenneth L. Ray, senior pastor, and Dr. David H. Brooks, associate pastor, from Christ the King Lutheran Church, will officiate. The family will receive friends 6:00-8:00 pm Wednesday, August 29, 2012 at the funeral home.

Memorial contributions may be made to Hospice of Wake County (, 250 Hospice Circle, Raleigh, NC 27607) or to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital (, 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis, TN 38105).

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