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Harold Harrison

Obituary Condolences

Harold William


Resident of Los Altos

June 6, 1921 - April 2, 2010

Harold Harrison, of Los Altos passed away Friday, April 2, 2010 with his family at his side. Harold is survived by his wife Gerry, his son Bill Harrison, his daughter Linda Garnett and his four grandchildren.

Born in Augusta, GA he grew up during the Great Depression. After graduating from the Georgia Tech with a BSEE in 1943, he moved to Washington D.C. to work for the Nat'l Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, NASA's precursor. During his 2 year stay in Washington Harold met and fell in love with Geraldine Olsen. The two were married and following Harold's enlistment in the Navy moved to Mt. View, CA where Harold served as an engineer at Moffett Field.

Following his honorable discharge he returned to work for NASA where he worked on the design and development of the first on-line computing system for wind tunnel models. Under his direction, the first "real time" application of a digital computer to solve aeronautical problems was made. He spent a total of 13 years with NASA advancing the integration of computing technology with aeronautical experimentation.

In 1957 Harold was employed by General Electric to assist in designing the largest banking computer at the time. He served on the National Committee which established the encoding in use today on all checks.

Harold was president of Menlo Park Engineering from 1958 to 1962, at which time he co-founded Aertech Industries, specializing in semiconductor and microwave technologies pertaining to radar, telecommunications and satellite components. In 1967 Aertech watched when their components were used in the country's first manned mission to the moon. In 1974 Harold and his fellow board members elected to sell Aertech to TRW. He continued as President until 1977.

Retirement didn't suit him well and he enter the last chapter of his professional career - operational consulting specializing in corporate turnaround and merger situations for several technology based companies including Narda Microwave's west coast operations, DCA Reliability, Frequency Sources West Division and Eaton Corporation, Microwave Products Division to name a few.

One of Harold's trademarks was his ability to balance his priorities. Regular family vacations, Scout master and little league coach were all part of his repertoire as his children grew. In them he instilled the same southern values and reverence for education and integrity that he exemplified.

Harold also found time for philanthropic activities. He was a member of the Palo Alto Elks club and the Rotary Club of Sunnyvale and gave a notable amount of his time and resources to the Georgia Tech alumni association. He served on the Georgia Tech Advisory Board from 1976 through 1982, and was inducted into Georgia Tech's Engineering Hall of Fame in 1994.

A Celebration of Life service will be held on May 7th at 3:00 at the Los Altos United Methodist church, 655 Magdalena Avenue, Los Altos, CA.
Published in San Jose Mercury News/San Mateo County Times on May 1, 2010
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