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Edward Westbrook Veitch

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Edward Westbrook Veitch Obituary
Edward Westbrook Veitch computer engineer and longtime resident of Rosemont, Berwyn and Audubon passed away on December 23 at Shannondell. Raised in Dumont, NJ, Ed entered Harvard in 1942 where he participated in Army ROTC. Midway through his freshman year, he was called to active duty and entered the Army's Specialized Training Program, ASTP, through which he studied physics and engineering in an intensive accelerated program at NC State. After training, he was assigned to the Manhattan Project, in Los Alamos, NM, where he served as an electronics technician. After the war, Ed returned to Harvard, completing his undergraduate degree in physics as well as graduate degrees in physics and applied physics. He studied under Howard Aiken, working on the Mark I, the first large scale digital computer in the United States, and participating in the first computer programming class in an American university. In 1949 Ed joined the Burroughs Corp in Philadelphia (and later Paoli) where he was on the design team for some of the earliest electronic computer systems, both commercial and military, receiving a number of patents for his work. Projects included the E101 computer and the SAGE radar air defense data network. While at Burroughs, Ed published a paper on a method for optimizing digital circuit design. Known as the Veitch Chart method, this technique and a refinement called the Karnaugh map continue to be taught in undergraduate and graduate computer science programs today. Ed continued to lead the research and development of computing systems while with RCA's Computer Division and later Pennsylvania Research Associates (Philadelphia). While with RCA's Missile and Surface Radar Division in Moorestown, NJ, he specified and designed computing systems behind the Navy's Aegis Missile Defense System. Ed and his wife of over 50 years, Natalie, enjoyed world travel, history, the arts and supported many Philadelphia cultural institutions. He was a member of a private men's reading group founded in Wayne 115 years ago, which has had continuous membership to present. He actively participated for 30 years, up until his passing. Even as his vision (macular degeneration) and mobility declined in the last 10 years, he maintained his intellectual curiosity, broad range of interests and dry wit. He enjoyed listening to on-line and recorded college lectures on topics varying from neuroscience, language; history to art and even anthropology. Predeceased by his wife, Natalie (Ford), he is survived by his 2 children, his daughter, Laurel of Wayne; and his son Andrew, daughter-in-law, Claudia, and grandchildren, Thomas and Julia of Carlisle, MA; and his sisters Alison Veitch Tomkies of Huntington, WV, and Elizabeth Veitch of Proctorville, OH. A private family service was held on December 26. Relatives and friends will be invited to a Memorial Service at a later date. Contributions in his memory may be made to the: National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped: ATTN: Office of the Director 1291 Taylor Street NW Washington, DC 20542 OR through www.loc.gov/nls. Arrangements are with Alleva Funeral Home, Inc. Paoli, PA
Published in Main Line Media News on Jan. 6, 2014
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