In Memoriam: April 2018

IEEE mourns the loss of the following members

27 April 2018

Walter S. Farley

Electrical engineer

Life Senior Member, 91; died 22 November

Farley helped found Stratton-Farley, later known as Dawson Engineering, a consulting firm in Langhorne, Pa.

Farley served in the U.S. Navy during World War II and was honorably discharged in 1943. He then worked for 13 years at Philadelphia Electric Co. and taught engineering as an adjunct professor at nearby Drexel University.

He was an elected official in Middletown Township, Pa., for several years and served for eight years as Bucks County Commissioner in the 1960s. He made an unsuccessful bid for Congress in 1966.

In 1970 he helped found Stratton-Farley. He retired in 2006.

He earned degrees from Northwestern University, in Evanston, Ill., and Drexel.

Premachandran “Prem” R. Menon


Life Fellow, 88; died 1 January

Menon was a professor of analog devices at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

He was an assistant professor at the University of Washington, Seattle, for one year before joining AT&T Bell Labs in 1963. He worked there as a researcher for 24 years, specializing in switching theory and digital systems.

He was appointed chair professor at UMass in 1986 and retired 10 years later.

He published nearly three dozen papers in journals and transactions and cowrote the textbooks Fault Detection in Digital Circuits and Theory and Design of Switching Circuits.

Menon was elevated to IEEE Fellow in 1988 “for contributions to method of simulation and testing of digital circuits, and to switching theory.”

He was a member of the IEEE Circuits and Systems and IEEE Computer societies.

Menon received a bachelor’s degree in 1954 from Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi. He earned a Ph.D. in 1962 from the University of Washington.

Kenneth R. Cormany

Power engineer

Life senior member, 90; died 26 February

Cormany was an engineer at Georgia Power, an Atlanta-based utility.

He served in the U.S. Army for 16 years and was honorably discharged as a major in the Army Reserve.

In 1986 he was named a vice president at Georgia Power. From 1987 until recently, he was a consultant for the electrical utility industry.

He was a life member of the Edison Electric Institute and a member of advisory boards at Coosa Valley Technical College (now part of Georgia Northwestern Technical College), in Rome, Ga. He loved computers, boating, and collecting stamps from around the world.

He was a member of the IEEE Power & Energy Society.

Cormany received a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Georgia Tech.

John Merchant

Telepresence pioneer

Life Member, 88; died 17 March

Merchant was designated an IEEE technical expert for raising awareness about telepresence, the use of virtual reality for remote control of machinery and remote participation in distant events.

Born in Cardiff, Wales, he served in the Royal Air Force from 1952 to 1954, servicing ground radio equipment. He emigrated in 1958 to Canada, where he developed an aircraft simulator. He moved to Needham, Mass., in 1962 to join Allied Research Associates. From 1963 to 1994, he was a senior staff engineer at Honeywell, working on infrared and imaging systems.

Much of his work was funded by the U.S. Department of Defense to develop better ways of tracking ships and planes in low visibility. While at Honeywell, he invented the remote oculometer, an optical sensor that measures eye direction from a distance. Oculometers were then supplied to NASA and the Air Force for use with astronauts and pilots training on simulators, and later adapted for missile guidance.

In 1977 he published articles about the device in Optical Engineering and in the British magazine New Scientist, among other journals. The international medical community became aware of the device and applied it to the diagnosis and treatment of mental illness and learning disabilities.

Merchant received 10 patents for his inventions as well as a number of honors from scientific and engineering groups, including Honeywell’s Engineer of the Year and Technical Achievement awards.

In 1994 he formed RPU Technology, a consulting firm in Needham that specialized in vision systems with military and commercial applications.

He devoted most of his remaining years to writing articles, giving talks, and working on a book about his most passionate interest: space exploration via telepresence. In 1998 one of his telepresence articles was included in Taking Sides: Controversial Issues in Science, Technology, and Society. He argued for space exploration with telepresence robots rather than humans as a safer and more cost-effective approach.

Merchant received a bachelor’s degree in general science in 1949 from the University of London and a bachelor’s degree in mathematics in 1952 from the University of Wales, Cardiff.

Milena Krasich

Electrical engineer

Life Member, 81; died 21 March

Krasich was senior principal systems engineer at Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems, in Tewksbury, Mass.

She began her career as an engineer at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. While in California, she was a part-time professor at California State University, Dominguez Hills, where she taught graduate courses in systems reliability, advanced reliability and maintainability, and statistical process control. She was also a part-time professor at the California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, teaching undergraduate courses in engineering statistics, reliability, and environmental testing.

She left to become a member of the technical staff in the reliability engineering group at General Dynamics Advanced Technology Systems before joining Raytheon.

She was chair of the U.S. technical advisory group to the International Electrotechnical Commission. She also served as president of the Institute of Environmental Sciences and Technology.

Krasich did pioneering research in naval weapons, Mars spacecraft, and acoustic reliability.

She published several papers in IEEE journals and transactions and was a member of the IEEE Aerospace and Electronic Systems Society and the IEEE Standards Association.

She earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in electrical engineering from the University of Belgrade, in Serbia.

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