In Memoriam: November 2017

IEEE mourns the loss of the following members

27 November 2017

Richard F. Powell

Quality assurance engineer

Life Senior Member, 86; 4 July

Powell worked at electronics companies throughout his career, which spanned more than 40 years.

From 1952 to 1954 he served as a lieutenant in the U.S. Army Signal Corps. In 1954 he joined Sprague Electric Co., a supplier of components in North Adams, Mass. He was hired in 1961 by RCA Aerospace, in Boston, where he worked on projects including NASA’s Apollo moon lander and operational flight control systems for the Saturn V rocket.

In 1964 Powell left RCA to work on hi-fi electronics at HH Scott, an audio technology manufacturer in Maynard, Mass. Six years later he was hired by Viatron, a computer company in Bedford, Mass., but the company folded that year. He was able to return immediately to consumer electronics as the director of R&D at KLH, an audio company in Cambridge, Mass. KLH was sold in 1974, and Powell began working at Analogic Corp., a medical device manufacturer in Peabody, Mass. Later, he joined the faculty of Tufts Gordon Institute, in Medford, Mass.

In 1990 he left Boston and joined Alcatel Comptech, an electronics manufacturer in Fremont, Calif. He worked there until retiring in 1998.

Powell was a fellow of the American Society for Quality. He published several articles in IEEE publications and wrote a 1987 handbook, Testing Active and Passive Electronic Components.

He received a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering in 1952 from MIT.

Michael W. Cresswell


Life Fellow, 80; died 10 September

Cresswell was a physicist for 18 years at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), in Gaithersburg, Md.

During his time at NIST, where he was a test-structure project leader, he developed a critical dimension reference material using single-crystal silicon, which is used to calibrate the tip width of atomic force microscopes. The material became widely used in the semiconductor industry. He also wrote several technical papers and was awarded numerous patents.

Prior to NIST, he was an engineer for 24 years at Westinghouse Electric Corp. in Pittsburgh. There he participated in the VHSIC (very high speed integrated circuit) government research program. He also helped develop silicon-on-insulator technology for monolithic microwave integrated circuit (MMIC) fabrication.

Cresswell received two awards from the U.S. Department of Commerce: a 1991 Bronze Medal for Superior Federal Service and a 1995 Silver Medal for Meritorious Federal Service.

He was elevated to IEEE Fellow in 2001 “for the development of advanced lithography metrology instruments.”

Cresswell was known among his colleagues and friends for his artistic skills, especially his watercolor painting. After retiring and taking painting classes, he formed a watercolor group in Frederick, Md., sharing his love for the art as well as tips and techniques.

He received a bachelor’s degree from Queen Mary College, London, and master’s and doctoral degrees from Pennsylvania State University, in State College. He later received a master’s in business administration from the University of Pittsburgh.

Harry W. Mergler


Life Fellow, 93; died 15 September

Mergler was professor emeritus at Case Western Reserve University, in Cleveland, where he established the Digital Systems Laboratory.

He served in the U.S. Army Air Forces during World War II, flying with a field artillery squadron and working as an engineer on a research team at the Frankford Arsenal, in Philadelphia.

After the war, he became an aeronautical research scientist at the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) Lewis Flight Propulsion Laboratory, in Cleveland. There he designed the agency’s first large-scale analog computing facility. The NACA was dissolved in 1958.

In 1957 he joined the engineering faculty of Case Institute of Technology (now part of Case Western Reserve University). His research focused on digital logic design as applied to embedded control networks in machine-tool controls, aeronautical instrumentation, and industrial control processes. He was named professor emeritus in 1989.

Mergler founded the Digital-General Corp., a company that developed and manufactured digital diagnostic instrumentation. Its technology was acquired by Siemens in 1990.

He served as a consultant for several companies including Xerox and Gleason Corp., a machine tool manufacturer in Rochester, N.Y. He advised the National Science Foundation and NASA.

He was elevated to IEEE Fellow in 1976 “for contributions to engineering education and research in digital logic, numerical control, and aeronautical instrumentation.” He received several awards including the 1978 IEEE Lamme Medal “for pioneering research and creative industrial application of digital technology to machine tool and industrial control systems.” In 2006 he was named eminent member of IEEE–Eta Kappa Nu, the organization’s honor society.

Mergler published more than 50 research papers as well as a book, Theoretical Methods for Digital Logic Network Design. He was awarded 24 international and U.S. patents.

He received bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees in electrical engineering from MIT.

Frank Schink

Electrical engineer

Life Fellow, 95; died 21 September

Schink was chief electrical engineer at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, a transportation agency that oversees bridges, tunnels, airports, and seaports. He retired in 1989.

Prior to joining the Port Authority, he was an engineer at the M.W. Kellogg Co., an engineering and construction contractor with headquarters in London. There he managed facility and system design and maintenance.

He served in the U.S. Army during World War II and was awarded the European Campaign Medal after serving on the front lines in Germany.

Schink was elevated to IEEE Fellow in 1998 “for leadership in the engineering of electrical power distribution systems for major transportation complexes.” A member of the IEEE Power & Energy Society, he received its 2010 Meritorious Service Award.

He received bachelor’s and master’s degrees in electrical engineering from Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn (now the Polytechnic Institute of New York University).

Luis Gandía

Past director of IEEE Region 9

Life senior member, 86; died 9 October

An avid IEEE volunteer, Gandía was director of Region 9 (Latin America) from 1989 to 1991.

In the early 1950s he served in the U.S. Army as an artillery battery commander and then joined a construction company as an engineer responsible for the design and construction of high-voltage distribution lines and substations.

In 1958 he founded L. Gandía and Associates, a company in San Juan, Puerto Rico, that specializes in communications and electrical distribution technologies. He served as president until this year.

Gandía was 1984–1985 chair of the IEEE Puerto Rico and Caribbean Section, 1994 IEEE secretary, and 1999–2000 IEEE Division VI director, and he served on numerous IEEE committees and boards. He received several IEEE awards including the 1994 Member and Geographic Activities Larry K. Wilson Transnational Award, the 2000 IEEE-USA Divisional Professional Leadership Award, and the 2007 Haraden Pratt Award.

He was a member of the IEEE Computer and IEEE Power & Energy societies.

Gandía received a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from the University of Puerto Rico, in San Juan.

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