Former GW geography professor Thomas Abercrombie, 75, died Monday afternoon after being in a coma because of a blood clot. The clot developed in Abercrombie’s lung after he had open-heart surgery in mid-March.
Abercrombie taught geography of the Middle East for four years, but he hadn’t taught for the past few years, Geography Department Interim Chair Elizabeth Chacko said Wednesday. Abercrombie had a heart condition and was thought to be recovering well, until he slipped into a coma and then unexpectedly died, she said.
“He played a very active role in the department,” she said. “He really enjoyed teaching the course, and students enjoyed him as well. He hosted parties for the department and was very involved.”
Before teaching at GW, Abercrombie worked as a photographer for National Geographic and spent time in the Middle East, Chacko said. He was married to his high school sweetheart, Lynn, for many decades.
Senior Lyna Saad, a former student of Abercrombie’s, said she owes much of her knowledge about the Middle East to his class, which she took her freshman year.
“It remains one of the classes that stand out in my undergraduate experience,” Saad said. “When he gave his lectures, it was more like listening to this incredible storyteller speak about places that only few get to see and experiences few get to have.”
Abercrombie is survived by his wife, son and daughter. His memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. Sunday at the Londontown Public House in Edgewater, Md.