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David (Dave) Waddington


1924 - 2017 Obituary Condolences Gallery
David (Dave) Waddington Obituary
David (Dave) Waddington, age 92, was a pioneer solar engineer. His research took him from NASA to White Sands New Mexico but he always returned home to Colorado. He had such an inquisitive engineering type mind that by age 15 built a wind charger that furnished the first electricity to the family ranch house on Swift Creek near Westcliffe, Colorado. Of course, the term renewable energy was not even thought of at that time, the purpose was to improve life styles and save money. Dave was born to Mary Olivia Beddoes Waddington and Fredric Waddington on 20 June, 1924, in Colorado Springs, Colorado. He died in his sleep May 22, 2017. Dave attended the two-room school in Westcliffe, Colorado, then Cheyenne Mountain School in Colorado Springs. In 1942 he arrived in Boulder as a freshman at the University of Colorado. The first time he had a chance, he took the bus to Denver to sign up for the Boulder Section of Colorado Mountain Club. He also made his way to the basement of the Memorial Bldg. on campus to join the University of Colorado Hiking Club. Soon he was hiking Green, Bear, and.South Boulder mountains, trekking across The Mesa, and riding in the back of a coal truck for house parties at Hewes Kirkwood Inn near Long's Peak. In June of 1945 he graduated with a Bachelor of Engineering. from the University of Colorado. Since he had enlisted in the Navy in 1942, he was able to be in the V-12 program during his Boulder college years and then attend Columbia University Midshipman's School. As an Ensign he was Engineer Officer on the USS Manayunk, stationed in Saipan. Dave returned to the University of Colorado in the fall of 1946 to obtain a Masters of Science in Electrical Engineering and Mathematics. Dave's career took him to NACA (a precursor of NASA) Langley Aeronautical Laboratory in Hampon, Virginia where he rebuilt a labororatory interferometer, as well as an interferometer for use in wind tunnels. In May of 1949, he left his work at Langley and returned to Colorado where he accepted employment at Sterns Rogers Manufacturing working on electrical designs that operate in explosive atmosphere. But, when the company completed the project David worked on, his employment was terminated. By August 1949 David began his employment under the Signal Corp at White Sands Proving Ground in New Mexico. There, his titles and experience was extensive. He began as an operator in the Frequency Monitoring Station late in 1949 and was Chief Engineer by 1957. His time there included locating sources of interference, signal characteristics for use of missile contractors, even designing new laboratories. He was Chief of the Monitoring Branch at a time monitoring facilities were expanded to include all of New Mexico and even a station in Fort Churchhill, Canada. In July of 1958, Dave returned to Colorado and joined the Martin Company, now Lockheed Martin. He worked at the facility near Waterton Canyon on technical parts of the Titan Missile and solar capabilities on satellites. He was even able to set up outdoor solar testing on an adjoining hilltop. In 1980 Dave moved on to his dream job, SERI (Solar Energy Research Institute) which was later renamed National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). Besides testing numerous configurations, and materials for solar panels, there were tests shooting golf balls at high velocity to confirm resistance to hail storms, and a small installation at White Pine near the top of Monarch Pass which not only gave remote data to NREL but furnished the first electricity to the small mountain village.When Dave retired from NREL in 1993 he began volunteering at NREL's Visitor's Center. Dave loved to travel - from the fiords of Norway to Mexico City. He toured Austrailia, New Zealand, England, Scotland, many times square dancing, or round dancing along the way. He led square dance trips and took trips by car, pulling the Airstream behind - the longest being to Fairbanks, Alaska - but another all around Lake Superior. As a volunteer for Earthwatch he sailed in the San Juan Islands to identify individual Orcas and much later sailed on the Zodiac in the same area. Dave belonged to the Colorado Mountain Club (CMC) for 75 years! He lead backpacking trips, and the Summer Outing of 1977. He was president of the group in 1978 at a time when dreams and plans of hut to hut trails were prominent and the existing hut Arestua near Eldora was a project of note. The loss of Dave is grave but is lightened as we try to undo knots he tied over many years. David will always be remembered as a gentleman with a wealth of knowledge concerning everything from renewable energy to the best trails in Colorado. Dave is survived and sorely missed by wife Janet of Coal Creek Canyon CO, daughters Susan A. Majeski (Kenneth) of Roxborough Park CO and Mary Kay Waddington of Englewood CO. Also, grandson Stefan Majeski of Littleton CO, stepsons Stanley Justice of Fairbanks, Alaska, Dean Justice (Ellie) of Portland, Oregon and many other dear friends and family. A Celebration of Life will be held at Coal Creek Canyon Community Center, 31528 Hwy. 72, on June 8, 2017 at 3pm. June 8th has been an important date in Waddington family history for over 100 years. All are welcome. Instead of flowers, if you are so inclined, you could make a donation in his name to: Colorado Outward Bound, 910 Jackson St., Golden, CO 80401 or Colorado Mountain Club Foundation, 710 10th St. Golden, CO 80401.
Published in The Daily Camera on June 1, 2017
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