Elliot Axelband
1937 - 2017
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Elliot Axelband died suddenly on May 14, 2017 two weeks shy of his 80th birthday. He was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1937. He attended Erasmus High School and earned a BS in Electrical Engineering in 1958 from Cooper Union on full scholarship. He then moved to Los Angeles to begin a long career with Hughes Aircraft Company. While working full time, he earned an MS in Electrical Engineering from USC and a PhD in Control Theory and Applied Mathematics from UCLA. His academic focus was helping to develop what is now known as Classical Control Theory. Early in his career at Hughes Aircraft, he worked on communications satellites and on the motion control of the Surveyor which was the first craft to soft land on the Moon. This paved the way for the Apollo program. He was a Fellow in numerous professional societies, published over 50 scientific papers, was President of the IEEE Controls Society in 1977 and a recipient of the Air Force Meritorious Civilian Service Award. He worked at Hughes for 35 years ending is career there as a Vice President and General Manager. In his "retirement" he was, among many other things, Associate Dean of Engineering and Professor at USC, a senior researcher at RAND Corporation and Director and part owner of Legacy Engineering. Elliot is survived by Barbara Axelband, his wife of over 40 years, his children Erica Small (David), Allen Axelband and Debra Smotherman (Bob) and six grandchildren. He was a long time member of Temple Akiba in Culver City. He loved gourmet food, sailing, golf, vacations in Mammoth Lakes, Lakers Basketball and UCLA and USC athletics. In his later years, he especially loved to watch the antics of his grandchildren. He will be greatly missed.

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Published in Los Angeles Times on May 24, 2017.
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4 entries
August 22, 2018
Ted Wong
March 3, 2018
I was thinking tonight about our childhood days in Brooklyn and about how crazy we were about sports and particularly about our Dodgers ( not the LA version). I also remembered that Elliot started an astronomy club in the third or fourth grade at PS 241 and wondered whether he pursued that interest. Thanks to Google, I found that he did, with distinction. Sadly, I also found that he died last May. He and I were born about the same time. My 80th was last June 2.

My condolences to the family, and my congratulations on a life well lived by a good childhood friend.
Harry Petchesky
January 17, 2018
Great Boss, even a greater friend
Gary Ball
May 26, 2017
I'm so sorry; my heart goes out to you for your loss. There are no words to express our sadness when a love one passes but our loving God knows how you feel and comforts us with His word. (John 6:40 NWT)
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