Farewell

Herman Bank (B.S.’40 ME) died in November at age 96. Bank worked in the aerospace industry during WWII and then, in 1947, joined NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, where he was one of the company’s first wave of scientists known as the “Rocket Boys.” Bank was a project engineer for the nation’s first two-stage rocket and supervised the structural design of Explorer 1, the first U.S. satellite to orbit Earth in 1958. Bank later founded Volunteer Professionals for Medical Advancement.

Lester P. Douglass (B.S.’49 IEOR) died in July at age 91. World War II interrupted his college career, and Douglass became a naval aviator. After the war, he completed his degree and joined United Airlines as a pilot, based in San Francisco. Douglass also flew for the Navy Reserves.

Alan SearcyAlan W. Searcy, professor emeritus of materials science and engineering, died in Walnut Creek on November 5. Searcy joined the Berkeley faculty in 1954 and remained a professor for more than 50 years. He served as vice chancellor from 1964 to 1967 and associate director of the Materials and Molecular Research Division at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory from 1980 to 1984. Among many accolades, Searcy received the Fulbright Lectureship and the Guggenheim Fellowship.

Stuart J. Freedman (B.S.’65 Eng. Physics) died in New Mexico on November 9. Freedman held a joint position at Berkeley as professor of physics and a senior scientist in nuclear science. In 2001, he began work for the National Academy of Sciences and the U.S. Department of Energy.

Aletta Hollister (B.S.’47 CE) died in August at age 88. After graduating, she worked for the California Division of Highways in Redding, but quickly became disillusioned with the limitations for a woman on the job and soon quit. Her fondest memories were of living in Peruvian mining villages from 1954 to 1960. Hollister moved to Comptche, California in 1961, where she managed a 400-acre farm and served as postmaster from 1970 to 1984. 

Thomas Holmes (B.S.’49 EECS) died in June at age 89. In 1944, he was drafted into the Army Air Corps, and then went to work at Patrick Air Force Base in 1950, where he was one of six engineers who developed a computer to calculate the trajectory of missiles. Completed in 1953, this computer, revolutionary in its capabilities, was a precursor of the modern computer. Holmes and some of his colleagues then formed their own company, Soroban Engineering (later Mohawk Data) and continued to expand upon their design.

Robert Janopaul (B.S.’51 CE) died in January. After serving in the U.S. Navy Corps of Engineers from 1954 to 1958, Janopaul joined Tudor Engineering in San Francisco, where he worked his way up to president and CEO until his retirement in 1994. Janopaul was an active member of the Berkeley Engineering alumni society board and the Class of 1951 reunion committee.

William D. Kinney (B.S.’59, M.S.’61, Ph.D.’65 ME) died in October at age 75. Kinney had a long career as an orbital engineer and retired from Comsat and Lockheed Martin, where he worked on launching communication satellites and, in 1993, repairing the Hubble Telescope.

William Roberts (M.S.’61 EECS) died in August at age 80. Roberts worked for many of California’s top engineering firms and helped to create the animatronics that move the characters at Disneyland. The pinnacle of Roberts’ engineering career was the founding of the technology company Emulex.

Joseph Santos (B.S.’54 CE) died in September at age 80. In 1956, Santos joined the Department of Water Resources as a professional engineer, and for the next 36 years worked on the California Aqueduct, overseeing the construction of Southern California’s hydraulic power plant system. Santos was active in the Auburn Kiwanis Club and was a past president of the Placer Cal Alumni Club.

Donald Scheuch (B.S.’43 EE) died in August at age 93. In 1945, he was assigned to the U.S. Army Air Corps as a technical observer in radar countermeasures. Scheuch was then recruited to Stanford Research Institute to help build a regional center of electronics capability, now Silicon Valley. He was later appointed senior vice president for all of engineering.

Bernard Vallerga (B.S.’43, M.S.’48 CE) died on January 5. During WWII, Vallerga was a captain in the U.S. Third Army in Europe. He returned to Berkeley to join the faculty as an assistant professor. In 1964, he became president of Materials Research and Development, Inc., and in 1972, he founded a private consulting firm. Vallerga was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 1987.


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