John F. Tierney Funeral Home
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Manchester, CT 06040-4857
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William E. Diefenderfer

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DIEFENDERFER, William E. William E. Diefenderfer, Glastonbury, died on Tuesday, (March 15, 2005) at Hartford Hospital. He is survived by his beloved wife, Francesca; daughter, Barbara Jean and son, William Robert, both of Seattle, WA; four granddaughters and four great-grandchildren. William is the son of William H. and Esther Miller Diefenderfer and was born in Tamaqua, PA. He graduated with honors from Tamaqua High School and attended The Pennsylvania State University, where he graduated in1938 as the top student in the Engineering College. He was a member of the Pi Kappa Phi social fraternity, where he served a term as president and received the Pi Kappa Phi scholar award. He was awarded memberships in all of the honor societies of the various disciplines of his curriculum including Pi Tau Sigma, Mechanical engineering, Tau Beta Pi College of Engineering and Phi Kappa Phi Overall University Scholarship. He played the clarinet in the famous Penn State Blue Band. Upon graduation, he accepted a full time teaching position on the Mechanical Engineering faculty while pursuing graduate studies. He designed and built a closed-return wind tunnel and six component measuring instrument which was the key element in starting the Aeronautical Engineering Department of the University. In 1941, he joined Hamilton Standard Division of United Aircraft as a mechanical vibrations engineer. He remained active in the affairs of the University, serving on the Board of Directors of The Naval Acoustical Laboratory, and was a charter member of the Industrial-Professional Advisory Council of the College of Engineering. He was the first recipient of the Outstanding Engineering Alumnus Award, was named Fellow of the University in 1994, made a member of the Mount Nittany society in 1966, and later a member of the Atherton and Laurel Societies. At Hamilton Standard, be became engineering Manager, and in 1961, General Manager, a title soon to become Division President. In 1967, he was made Group Vice President of the Corporation with responsibilities for Hamilton Standard, Sikorsky Aircraft, Norden Electronics, and the UTC Solid Rocket Booster Division in California. He retired as Senior Vice President of United Technologies In 1967. Both during his career and in retirement, he was active in community affairs serving on the Industry Advisory Committee for State Government under two Governors, on the board of Hartford Process, and on the Citizen's Committee for Effective Government for the City of Hartford. He was on the board of Southern New England Telephone Company for 18 years and Connecticut General Mutual Funds for 19 years. He and his wife, Francesca by endowments to the Pennsylvania State University established the William E. Diefenderfer Chaired Professorship in Mechanical Engineering and the Eva P. Diefenderfer Graduate Fellowship in Education, the latter in honor of his first wife, an educator and member of the Connecticut State Legislature at the time of her death in 1966. Further endowments establish the Francesca and William Diefenderfer Engineering Business Scholarships and Graduate Fellowships at Penn State, both during their careers and in retirement. William and Francesca were frequent and enthusiastic foreign travelers, their trips covering most of the Globe. Final Arrangements will be made by the John F. Tierney Funeral Home, 219 West Center Street, Manchester. Services will be limited to relatives at request of the family.

Published in The Hartford Courant on Mar. 18, 2005
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