Meet Ned Lurcott
He’s Called Simpson Meadows Home Since 2007
He aims for the stars
When Edwin “Ned” Lurcott was growing up, his father introduced him to astronomy, often using tools he made himself to view the skies. Years later, Ned would share his knowledge of and passion for the heavens with countless others as the founder of the Chester County Astronomical Society.
A down-to-earth guy
Ned was born in 1928 in Elizabeth, New Jersey. At age 18, he began two years in the Army, then earned a degree in civil engineering from Syracuse University and went to work for the Pennsylvania Railroad, where he was in charge of bridge inspections. He spent three weeks touring Europe before he was married. After marrying his wife, Evelyn, a nurse, they toured national parks and the Western United States before the birth of their four children. His 38-year career with the railroad took them to Indianapolis; Philadelphia; Columbus, Ohio; and Washington, D.C. In 1970, the family settled in West Chester, where he and Evelyn were active members of Grove United Methodist Church. All the while, he never lost his interest in astronomy.
Making the heavens accessible
In 1985, he took some astronomy courses at West Chester University and was asked to restore their 12-inch telescope to operating condition in time to view Haley’s Comet. Eventually, he became an adjunct professor of astronomy, operating their observatory for several years. In September 1993, he and a half-dozen others who shared his fascination with the universe formed the Chester County Astronomical Society (CCAS) in cooperation with West Chester University. Over the years, the society has provided programs for scout troops, schools and civic groups interested in learning more about the skies. As part of CCAS’s Intro to Astronomy program, Ned taught a class called Spaceship Earth, which explained how the earth relates to the rest of the solar system, why seasons exist and why the night sky changes. CCAS also partnered with West Goshen Township Parks and Recreation Department to offer residents guided viewings of the lunar eclipse and other celestial phenomena.
As a result of his involvement with the Chester County Astronomical Society, Ned was admitted to the Astronomical League, a federation of astronomical societies, and in 2016, he received their Outreach Observing Award. He has built a lasting legacy. Not only is CCAS still active today, welcoming anyone who is interested in learning more about astronomy, and the CCAS website still features photographs of a lunar eclipse that Ned took in La Paz, Mexico.
Life at the Meadows
Ned and Evelyn moved to Simpson Meadows in 2007. Although Evelyn has passed, three of their children still live nearby. Today, Ned enjoys the atmosphere of the small community, exercise, dinners and holidays, and getting a glimpse of the stars.