JOHN DUGUNDJI
1925 - 2020
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DUGUNDJI, John MIT Professor Emeritus of Aeronautical Engineering Age 95, died peacefully on December 20 in Cambridge, surrounded by the people who loved him most. Above all else, John cherished his family. His best friends throughout his life were his brother and cousins with whom he spent his childhood summers. John is survived by his daughter, Elenna Dugundji; daughter Elisa Friedman and her husband, Robb Friedman; his grandchildren Alexander and Adam; and his former wife, Wraye Dugundji. While John was renowned for his expertise in aeroelasticity, structural dynamics, and composite materials, those who knew him best admired his kindness, patience, and understated humility. When people would ask him what he did for work, he would say simply, "I'm a teacher." John was born in New York City on Oct. 25, 1925, to Greek immigrants Basile and Rosa (Finale) Dugundji. After graduating from George Washington High School, John pursued aerospace engineering, earning his undergraduate degree from New York University. He served the United States Navy during World War II as an aviation electronic technician's mate. In 1948, he completed his Master's degree in aeronautics and astronautics at MIT. Upon receiving his Doctor of Science in Aeronautical Engineering from MIT in 1951, John worked in industry. He returned to MIT to join the AeroAstro faculty in 1957, where he remained until his retirement. In 2006, John received the Structures, Structural Dynamics, & Materials Award from the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA). One of the highest forms of recognition in his field, the award commemorates significant research and teaching contributions throughout his career. Colleagues and former students describe him as a great mentor, teacher, and scholar who greatly impacted their careers. In addition to his passion for engineering, John was a lifelong student with broad interests. He loved languages, history, the arts, and travel. Along with his former wife, he took a year-long sabbatical to Switzerland with an infant and a toddler in tow. He was the family photographer, builder of sandcastles, and note-taker, documenting his observations on small pieces of paper he kept tucked into his shirt pocket. John derived great joy from music, everything from opera to folk songs. He never shied away from the opportunity to play "Happy birthday" on his recorder. He also had a great fondness for ice cream, which he treated himself to nearly every night. A celebration of his life, complete with his favorite songs, poems, and desserts, will be held later in 2021. At the family's request, gifts may be made in his memory to the AeroAstro Graduate Fellowship Fund: https://giving.mit.edu/john-dugundji. Alternatively, checks may be made payable to MIT in memory of John Dugundji to the AeroAstro Graduate Fellowship Fund (account #3290600) and mailed to: Memorial Gifts Office, 600 Memorial Drive, W98-500, Cambridge, MA 02139.

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Published in Boston Globe from Jan. 12 to Jan. 17, 2021.
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January 13, 2021
Mr. Dugundji,
Sir, I would just like to say thank you for your service and sacrifice for our Country when you served with the USN during WW II and for being a member of the Greatest Generation. And to your Family and loved ones, I wish to extend my deepest sympathy.

Fair Winds And Following Seas
Mike Casey
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