PE&RS July 2016 Public - page 497

July 2016
R.R. “S
” C
R.R. “Sky” Chamard Sky Chamard was born in February
1924. His parents immigrated from Quebec to New Hampshire
in the early 1920’s to work in shoe factories. He graduated
from Nashua High School in New Hampshire in 1941. ”I was
a mediocre student but a great tuba player” Sky was fond of
In the fall of 1941, he attended the University of New
Hampshire School of Applied Science, pursuing a career in
dairy management. Also, while in school, he made $40 a week
playing tuba in a dance band (more than his parents made in
the shoe industry).
In the summer of 1942, he got a job planting trees for the
New Hampshire Forestry Department and received a notice
that the Ochoco Natinal Forest in Oregon was hiring summer
fire-fighters. He applied, was accepted, and took the Greyhound
Bus to Prineville, Oregon, a four-day trip! This decision to work
for the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) changed his life.
In the fall of 1942, he changed his college major to forestry.
On another Greyhound Bus trip to Prineville he noticed a
young woman reading a novel and giggling. He bought her a
bowl of chili. She got off in Kansas City, Missouri. hHer family
lived in New York but she was returning to school in Missouri.
Her name was Jeanette.
In September 1943, Sky was drafted into the Army. After
basic and specialty training, he arrived in France on D-Day,
June 6, 1944. Sky was a paratrooper, and saw action almost
immediately. On one mission, the paratroopers were notified
that the plane was low on fuel and needed to lighten the
load. The paratroopers were pushed out of the airplane. Sky
commented that “that was the worst airplane trip of his life.”
He was wounded and in the hospital until October 1944. He
was medically discharged, and headed for Oregon and the
Ochoco National Forest.
For the next few years he worked on a Slash Fire Crew, as
a Lookout Operator, a Station Fireman, and a Fire Control
Officer. His boss told him to finish his degree. Sky enrolled
in the Oregon State University (OSU) as a forest engineering
major and worked part-time for the USFS. He graduated in
the fall of 1949. A professor at OSU encouraged Sky to insert
photogrammetry into USFS mapping and suggested that he
join the American Society for Photogrammetry. He did!
In late 1949, at the Ochoco National Forest, Sky began
working on forest cruising and keeping the “map” records; he
also served as a road construction inspector, road engineering
and designer.
In December 1949, he went home to see parents who bought
him a car. He was not aware that the young lady, Jeanette,
was home for the holidays and was trying to look him up. After
Christmas, he and Jeanette drove to Columbus, Ohio to drop
her off at s chool. He liked her a lot, and drove on to Oregon.
In December 1950, Sky invited Jeanette to Oregon for a visit.
She had graduated by then and decided to stay in Oregon and
got a job working for the USFS as a Fire Lookout.In September
1952, 10-years after they met, Sky and Jeanette got married.
In 1960, he was promoted to Forest Engineer and transferred
to Ogden, Utah to build forest transportation plans. The
Forest Service needed better maps, and Sky introduced
photogrammetry for Forest Service mapping: a revolutionary
In 1964, he took a position in Washington, DC with the
USFS, Transportation Engineering Department. At that time
he bought his trademark Red VW Camper bus.
In 1966 he transferred to the Portland, Oregon office as
Chief of Surveying and Mapping. Sky fundamentally changed
the way the USFS produced maps. He traveled often to ranger
districts and wanted to be remembered, so he began wearing
red socks, and occasionally a red tie, with his USFS uniform.
In 1975, he became the first Director of the USFS National
Geometronics Service Center in Salt Lake City, Utah. He
retired in September 1979, and settled in Eugene, Oregon
and established SkyJets, Inc. a photogrammetric consultant
firm, and remained very active in promoting analytical
He and Jeanette had three children, Judy, John, and Skyla.
All three live in Oregon.
ASPRS Involvement
• Regional Officer in two Regions - Columbia and
Intermountain Regions
• Regional Director of Columbia Region for 12 years while
serving on the ASPRS National Executive Committee
• Chair of the Evaluation for Certification Committee for 16
years, and considered the ‘father’ of the existing program
• Presidential Citations in 1970, 78, 82, 88, and 89.
• Designated as an ASPRS Honorary Member in 2001.
I met Sky in February 1972 at the USFS Orthophoto Workshop in San Jose,
California. I was new to the Forest Service and he was a living legend, driving the
red VW camper van, wearing red socks, and passionate about photogrammetry and
accurate maps.
Sky was a true friend and mentor, and I will never forget him. I think about him
every day — Mike Renslow
Memorial Address
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