In Memoriam: January 2019

IEEE mourns the loss of the following members

28 January 2019

George Russell Hanks

Electrical engineer

Life senior member, 94; died 1 December

Hanks served in the U.S. Army Air Corps as a sergeant and cryptographer during World War II. His military decorations include the World War II Victory Medal, American Defense Service Medal, European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal, and the Good Conduct Medal.

He was an electrical engineer at the Tennessee Valley Authority, a utility headquartered in Knoxville. He worked there for 47 years before retiring.

Hanks received the IEEE Centennial Medal in 1984 and the IEEE Millennium Medal in 2000, both for his contributions to electrical engineering. He served on the IEEE Power & Energy Society switchgear committee and the society’s capacitor subcommittee.

He earned a bachelor’s degree in EE from Georgia Tech.


Edward Nelson Skomal

Electromagnetic engineer

Fellow, 92; died 8 December

Skomal participated in 1943 in the U.S. Navy V-12 radio technology program, which during World War II trained college students in technology, foreign languages, and medicine.

After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in physics in 1947 from Rice University, in Houston he became a project engineer at the Magnolia Petroleum Field Research Laboratories in Dallas.

He moved to Washington, D.C., in 1951 and served as assistant section chief and supervisory physicist for Diamond Laboratories, a research facility that tested electromagnetic pulse effects on electronics for the military. There he designed electromagnetic devices that detected steel on the threads of enemy tanks. The technology became standard during the Cold War.

Skomal moved to Palo Alto, Calif., in 1956 to work as a development engineer for Electronic Defense Laboratories, part of the Sylvania Electronic Microwave Physics Laboratory. He worked there until 1959.

He then moved to Phoenix to work for Motorola as the chief engineer developing electromagnetic variation and magnetism’s influence on physics.

After returning to California in 1963, he worked for the Aerospace Corp., in San Bernardino, where he held the positions of staff scientist, development engineer, and physicist. He was promoted to director of the communications department in 1972 and worked at the company’s headquarters in El Segundo until 1986, when he retired.

He became an IEEE Fellow in 1980 “for contributions to the theory and measurement of man-made radio noise.”

Skomal served as an associate editor of IEEE Transactions on Electromagnetic Compatibility. He received the 1980 IEEE Richard R. Stoddart Award. He was appointed chair of the IEEE technical committee on electromagnetic environments and was a member of the IEEE Electromagnetic Compatibility Society’s standards and Fellow selection committees.

Skomal earned a master’s degree in physics in 1949 from Rice.


Philip C. Henry

Electrical engineer

Life senior member, 86; died 1 January

Henry served in the U.S. Navy during the Korean War on the USS Rogers. For 32 years he worked for the Florida Power Corp. (now Progress Energy) in Raleigh, N.C. He retired as senior vice president.

He received a 1994 IEEE Power & Energy Society Outstanding Engineer Award.

He earned a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from the University of Missouri, in Columbia, and a master’s degree in engineering from the University of South Florida, in Tampa.

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