In Memoriam: November 2016

IEEE mourns the loss of the following members

24 November 2016

Wade Thomas “Tom” Cathey Jr.

Optics engineer

Life Fellow, 78; died 7 July

Cathey founded two companies to further his optics research.

He began his career in 1963 at the Autonetics Research Center, in Anaheim, Calif., where he did research in pattern recognition, holography, and laser arrays. He left in 1968 to join the University of Colorado, Boulder, as a professor of electrical and computer engineering.

In 1974 he authored a book, Optical Information Processing and Holography. He was awarded a grant from the National Science Foundation in 1987 to start the University of Colorado’s NSF Engineering Research Center for Optoelectronic Computing Systems.

He helped found CDM Optics in Boulder in 1997. The R&D company developed wavefront coding technology. Last year he cofounded Ubifocal, a company in Boulder that develops technologies to extend the depth of a person’s field of vision.

Cathey was elevated to Fellow in 1997 “for contributions to optics in computing, adaptive optics, and imaging systems.” He was a reviewer for IEEE Spectrum and IEEE Transactions on Pattern Analysis and Machine Intelligence and a member of the IEEE Computer and IEEE Photonics societies.

He received bachelor’s and master’s degrees in electrical engineering from the University of South Carolina, Columbia, and went on to earn a Ph.D. in 1963 from Yale.


Gerald Herskowitz

Professor emeritus

Life Fellow, 80; died 14 July

Herskowitz was a professor emeritus at Stevens Institute of Technology, in Hoboken, N.J.

In 1957 he joined RCA Laboratories, near Princeton, N.J, as a research engineer. He authored Computer-Aided Integrated Circuit Design (McGraw Hill, 1968). He joined Stevens Tech in 1972 as a professor of electrical engineering.

He later served as director of the optical communications laboratory at Stevens, where he researched computer-aided design, solid-state devices, and integrated circuits. He received an honorary master’s degree from Stevens and was named professor emeritus in 2003.

He was elevated to Fellow in 1986 “for contributions to research and development of educational programs in optical communication systems and components.”

Herskowitz received a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering in 1957 from the Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn (now Polytechnic Institute of New York University), in New York City. He earned a master’s degree in EE in 1959 from Rutgers University in New Brunswick, N.J., and a Ph.D. in EE in 1963 from New York University.


David H. Geer

Electrical engineer

Life Senior Member, 74; died 26 July

Geer was an electrical engineer for 38 years at General Electric in Roanoke, Va.

He was a member of the IEEE Computer Society. In his spare time, he enjoyed beekeeping, making wine, coaching soccer, gardening, and designing websites.

Geer earned a bachelor’s degree from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, in Troy, N.Y.


Ervin M. Bradburd

Communications engineer

Life Fellow, 96; died 13 August

Bradburd was an electrical engineer for ITT Corp., a manufacturer in White Plains, N.Y.

During World War II, he helped develop military communications systems and received a letter of commendation from U.S. president Franklin D. Roosevelt for his engineering contributions to the war effort.

Bradburd began working for ITT in 1943. In 1956 he left to join the RCA Corp., where he helped develop communications systems for the company’s Defense Early Warning line and the Minute Man missile system. In 1965 he returned to ITT, where he was eventually named vice president. At the time of his retirement in 1984, he was chief scientist in ITT’s Defense Electronics Division, in Nutley, N.J.

He was elevated to Fellow in 1968 “for contributions to communication transmission systems and techniques.” He was a member of the IEEE Electron Devices Society.

An avid gardener, Bradburd was a member of the American Rhododendron Society.

He earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in electrical engineering in 1941 and 1943 from Columbia College, in Missouri.


Harry Heffes

Communications engineer

Life Fellow, 77; died 3 September

Heffes was a communications engineer for 28 years at Bell Labs.

After joining the company as a researcher in 1962, he worked on technologies for NASA’s Apollo lunar landing program, and he applied modern control and estimation theories to problems relating to guidance, navigation, tracking, and trajectory optimization. Later, he worked on the modeling, analysis, and overload control of telecommunication systems and services. He also served as associate editor of Networks: An International Journal.

He left Bell Labs in 1990 to join Stevens Institute of Technology, in Hoboken, N.J., as a professor of electrical engineering. He received the Stevens Alumni Association Outstanding Teacher Award in 2007 and 2012.

Heffes was elevated to Fellow in 1990 “for contributions to teletraffic theory and applications to modeling, analysis, and overload control.” He was also a member of IEEE–Eta Kappa Nu, the organization’s honor society.

He received a bachelor’s degree in 1962 from the City College of New York and earned master’s and doctoral degrees in 1964 and 1968 in EE from New York University.

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