Kenneth, 53, was born January 13, 1960 in Portland, Maine. He died Jan. 9, 2014 at Mountain View Regional Medical Center in Las Cruces from complications of viral pneumonia in both lungs. Ken would have been 54 years old on Monday Jan. 13. He grew up in Westbrook, Maine and attended Westbrook schools. He was active in Boy Scouts and attained the rank of Eagle Scout. He graduated from Westbrook High School as class valedictorian in 1978. Ken attended Princeton University and majored in electrical engineering and computer science and was active in the Princeton theatre company. He graduated magna cum laude in 1982 and then went to Purdue University as a teaching assistant, majoring in electrical engineering, receiving his M.S. degree in 1984. He was employed by Massachusetts Institute of Technology at Lincoln Laboratory for 24 years, where he was an aviation electronic hardware specialist developing the TCAS collision avoidance system. He helped to develop Parallel Runway Landing Systems using GPS. His next responsibility was to help develop a target to test airborne lasers that could bring down enemy missiles. In 2008, Kenneth moved to New Mexico State University in Las Cruces, where he was in charge of rocket telemetry for the NASA Sounding Rocket launches at White Sands Missile Range. Recently, his team was part of a launch to study the ISON comet, and the Discovery Channel Canada produced a program that featured the NASA work at WSMR. This December, Kenneth was awarded his second NMSU Research Achievement Award in recognition for his research and development contributions to the school. Ken has been a member of the IEEE fraternity for over 25 years and was an active donor to local animal welfare charities. He was also an avid New England Patriots and Boston Red Sox fan. Kenneth is survived by his wife Julie Carlin Saunders, of Las Cruces; his beloved pets, Cooper, Joey and Spats; his parents Marjorie and Henry Saunders of Standish, Maine and Osprey, Fla. and his sister Leslie Saunders McManus and her husband Bryan of Standish, Maine. He has numerous other relatives including aunts, uncles and cousins. He had friends all over the country and world, from Maine to New Mexico to Singapore. Ken will be missed by all who knew him. There will be a private family service in Las Cruces, and a memorial service at the Westbrook-Warren Church in Westbrook, Maine in June. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Las Cruces Action Program for Animals, APA, P.O. Box 125, Las Cruces, NM, 88004. Arrangements by Getz Funeral Home, corner of Solano and Bowman Ave. To sign our local online guestbook, please log onto www.GetzCares.com.
Published in Las Cruces Sun-News on Jan. 19, 2014