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John Staudhammer


1932 - 2017 Obituary Condolences
John Staudhammer Obituary
March 1932 - February 2017 A grateful refugee who arrived in the U.S. in the aftermath of World War II, Dr. John Staudhammer went on to become a pioneer in the field of computer graphics. During a career which spanned over 50 years, he taught at UCLA, Arizona State, North Carolina State University, Zhejiang University, and the University of Florida. In addition, he consulted for the Army Research Office, National Science Foundation, and the Pentagon, and served as an expert witness. John was the eldest of five children born in Budapest, Hungary to John and Josephine (Decker) Staudhammer. The family fled Hungary in 1944 to escape the advancing Russian troops, an odyssey that forever changed John's life and world view. The family lived in Germany as refugees until 1949, when Margaret Zernovean and Ilona Bujdossy, two Hungarian immigrants of limited means, and Father Matthais Lani of St. Steven's Catholic Church, sponsored the family to come to Los Angeles. Through hard work and with access to affordable public education, all of the children went on to professional success in technical fields. The five children earned in total five Bachelor's degrees, five Master's degrees, and three PhDs. John's own BS (1954), MS (1956) and PhD (1963) in Engineering were earned at UCLA. Always mindful that this country "took a chance" on him, Prof. Staudhammer was willing to "take a chance" on unorthodox students who were interested in the emerging field of computer graphics and animation in the 1970s and 1980s. He established and ran computer labs at NC State and the University of Florida. He was on the editorial board of IEEE's Computer Graphics and Applications magazine from 1980 to 1990 (three years as editor-in-chief), published 40 papers, and led dozens of short courses. He and his students were early and prolific contributors to SIGGRAPH. His professional endeavors took him to universities and assignments throughout Europe, the U.S., and Asia. John took pride in his role as a catalyst, an inspiration, and an opportunity creator for others. Many of his students have gone on to emulate those qualities in their own careers. In that sense he has a host of professional children and grandchildren. In retirement, he took on the job of translating from Hungarian his own father's gripping memoirs, and organizing them into book form. His family will be forever grateful for this wonderful record of personal history. John was a smart, funny, hardworking man and he will be missed by many. He was predeceased by his parents, his brother Peter, and his former wife Monique. He is survived by his sister Josephine, brothers Karl and Fred, and their families, as well as his daughter Anne (Chuck Nickerson), son Paul, grandson Jacob and granddaughter Sara. A memorial will be held this summer in Los Angeles.
Published in the Los Angeles Times from Mar. 8 to Mar. 12, 2017
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