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Carl Accardo

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Carl Accardo Obituary
Carl Anthony Accardo, 85; geophysicist, long time Winchester resident.

Carl Anthony Accardo, 85, beloved husband for fifty-seven years of Edna (Ertle) Accardo, passed away of natural causes on Saturday, March 22, at his home in Winchester.

Accardo was born on April 20, 1928, in Torrington, CT, the first son of Gaetano Accardo and his wife Maria, who had both emigrated from Sicily at the turn-of-the-century. After graduating from Torrington High School in 1945, he studied physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, graduating with the Class of 1948. He moved to the New Jersey Shore to work as a physicist at Camp Evans and at the United States Signal Research and Development Laboratory at Fort Monmouth, becoming a specialist in high-energy radiation detection. With his colleagues Kurt Lehovic and Edward Jamgochian, Accardo conducted pioneering experiments in the field of electroluminescence. They published their findings in a 1951 issue of the Physical Review; this seminal paper is widely considered a breakthrough in the field of solid state physics. Today, this phenomenon is popularly known as the LED, which has found widespread commercial applications. Accardo went on to earn a master's degree in physics from New York University in 1951.

A veteran of the Korean War, he served in the United States Army Signal Corps and was stationed in Germany. He was among a select group of American officers monitoring Soviet efforts to develop the Hydrogen bomb during the Cold War. He received an honorable discharge in 1955 at the rank of 2nd Lieutenant. Upon his return from Germany, Accardo met and, on July 1, 1956, married Edna Ertle, a kindergarten teacher from Red Bank, NJ.
Recognizing the technology boom that centered on Boston's Route 128, he moved his growing family to Woburn in 1961 before settling in Winchester two years later. He took a staff position at the Geophysics Corporation of America (GCA), which developed and built sounding rockets and their payloads throughout the 1960s; he later became the director of its Chemical Physics and Engineering Laboratories. Accardo and his colleagues investigated upper atmospheric phenomena that occurred during three notable solar eclipses: at Fort Churchill, Manitoba in 1963, at Cassino, Brazil in 1966, and at Wallops Island, VA, in 1970. His accounts of these last two eclipses appeared in the magazine Sky & Telescope.
In 1973 Accardo with his MIT classmate John Dulchinos of Winchester and Dr. Henry A. Miranda of Bedford left GCA to form Epsilon Laboratories, Inc., where he served as President. In addition to developing several commercial photographic technologies, Epsilon continued the work of its founders in the areas of geophysical research and defense contracting. The firm developed a payload instrument carried aboard the second mission of the Space Shuttle Columbia on November 11, 1981 to monitor shuttle-induced contaminants that might adversely affect delicate infrared imaging systems carried on board. Accardo also made three extended trips to Fairbanks, AK, to make observations of the Aurora Borealis.
He returned to his alma mater in 1986 to serve as a Liaison Officer in MIT's Industrial Liaison Program, later becoming its Director of Asian Operations. In this capacity, he travelled to Korea and Japan on numerous occasions and became MIT's de facto ambassador of technology in that part of the world. In 2004 Japanese Emperor Akihito recommended him to receive one of his country's highest honors, the Order of the Sacred Treasure, Gold Rays with Rosette, a distinction previously granted only four times to MIT staff, including former presidents Jerome B. Weisner and Paul Gray and faculty members Koichi Masubuchi and Samuel A. Goldblith. Just before his retirement at the age of 79, Accardo was made an honorary member of the Quarter Century Club in recognition of his tireless efforts on behalf of MIT.
From his father Accardo developed a lifelong interest in photography and photographic processes, many of which he mastered in his home darkroom. A longtime resident of Winchester, he was active in the town's Little League Baseball program. He was fluent in Italian and German, and came to learn a little French and Japanese. He enjoyed listening to the classical repertoire at Boston Symphony Hall, and had a special fondness for Irish music. He was also a passionate collector of Eskimo art and rare books. Later in life, he was often a guest at the annual dinners of the Speckled Band of Boston, a distinguished Sherlock Holmes society. But above all, he loved the time he spent with his family, and was especially proud of the accomplishments of his seven grandchildren.

He leaves his wife Edna and four sons: Carl V. Accardo and his wife Sara of Derry, NH, and their children, Max, Ben, and Julie, Thomas A. Accardo of Winchester, Peter X. Accardo and his wife Heidi of Lynnfield, MA, and their son Peter, and James Accardo of Winchester; and two daughters: Edna Accardo-Walls of Winchester and her sons Christian, Brandon, and Alec, and Laura (Accardo) Norquist and her husband Dr. Craig Norquist of Paradise Valley, AZ. He was predeceased by two brothers, Thomas and Philip Accardo, a sister, Mary LoBrutto, and son-in-law John Walls; and is survived by three sisters, Anne Horvitz of Grand Rapids, MI, and Theresa Sloane and Arlene Lamere, both of Torrington, CT.
Published in The Winchester Star from Mar. 29 to Apr. 5, 2014
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