John Alan Tonkinson
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1937 - 2013
John Tonkinson, 75, an engineer and longtime Torrance resident, passed away at his home on May 11 after a lengthy illness. John was born in Bell, California, but spent most of his childhood in Mt. Pleasant, Iowa, where he was known as "Jack". His childhood years consisted of chemistry sets (at least one explosion), crop dusting, Boy Scouts and spending a lot of time in the Mt. Pleasant Library where his mother worked. After receiving his bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering at the State University of Iowa in 1961, he moved to San Diego, California to work for Astronautics on the Atlas missile. In 1962, he and his new bride, Jane, moved to the Los Angeles area where he worked for Northrop Corporation for the next 30 years. In 1967, he received his master's degree from the University of California. At Northrop, he contributed to many defense programs, including the F-5, F-20 and F-18 fighters and the B-2 stealth bomber. He retired from Northrop in 1956 and then consulted for the RAND Corporation from 1997 - 2012. Aside from engineering, John was interested in astronomy, architecture, jazz and the theater. He was also an avid tennis player and fan who regularly attended the Ojai and Indian Wells tennis tournaments. He was a charter member of the South End Racquet Club. He is survived by his loving wife, Jane, his daughter, Pamela, of Arlington, Virginia. A "Celebration of life" will be held on June 8 at 5:15 p.m. at the Point Vicente Interpretative Center, 31501 Palos Verdes Dr. West, (310) 377-5370. The family requests that contributions in lieu of flowers be sent to the State University of Iowa Foundation, P.O. Box 4550, Iowa City, IA 52244, (800) 648-6973 in support of the John A. Tonkinson Engineering Scholarship. Please make note of the scholarship name on any donation. Please sign the guestbook
Published in Daily Breeze from May 18 to May 20, 2013