Edgar Allen Northrup
1929 - 2020
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Edgar Allen Northrup February 15, 1929 - June 20, 2020 San Diego Colonel Edgar A. Northrup, Jr. (USAF Ret.) died on Monday, June 22, 2020, after a short illness. Edgar was 91. A San Diego area resident since retiring from active duty in the United States Air Force in 1977, he enjoyed traveling around the world, sailing and flying small aircraft.Edgar was born on Feb. 15, 1929, in Queens, N.Y., the son of Edgar A. Northrup and Lucille Williams. At 17, he enlisted in the United States Army as a paratrooper. While attending Hofstra University in New York, the Air Force recruited him to attend Officer Training School and learn to fly F-86 Saber fighter jets. After the Korean War, he was assigned to instruct Gen. Minoru Genda, architect of the Japanese attack against Pearl Harbor, how to fly American jets. The rest of his military assignments were stateside and included being the commander of the 390th Strategic Missile Wing at Davis-Monthan AFB in Tucson, Ariz, home to the Titan II missile. He then served in various strategic nuclear planning positions at the Strategic Air Command Headquarters in Omaha, Nebr., and at the Pentagon. Edgar received commendations including the Legion of Merit with one oak leaf cluster, the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Air Medal with three oak leaf clusters, and the Joint Service Commendation Medal.After retiring from the Air Force, Edgar moved to defense contracting, working with Science Applications International Corp., and Titan Systems. Edgar married Joan Finn from Long Island, N.Y., in 1953. They had two children, Carol and Edgar Allen Northrup III (1957 - 2010). Joan passed away in 1996. Through a former Air Force colleague, Edgar met and partnered with Patricia Delaney Green whose husband had passed away in 1991. He was a much-loved member of her large extended family for 22 years.Edgar is survived by Patricia, daughter, Carol and granddaughter (his son Ed III's daughter) Natalie Northrup.Memorial Services to be announced at a later date.

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Published in San Diego Union-Tribune on Jul. 3, 2020.
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11 entries
July 13, 2020
I first met Edger at SAC Headquarter in July 1975, when he was Director of Astronautic Requirements in DCS/Plans. As such he was the key missile man at SAC, in charge of bringing modifications to old missile systems and bringing new missiles such as the MX into being. At that time I was Deputy Director, Future Systems, soon to become Director of Aeronautical Requirements with the same responsibilities regarding avionics and airplanes. Our offices were directly across the hallway from one another.

We would commence a day at SAC HQ with the morning meeting with our two-star boss. All Directors and Deputies were present. The object was to bring the two-star up to date so he wouldnt be embarrassed when he met with the Chief of Staff later on. So heres the scene.

We would be all assembled with the General and after a minute or two Ed would wander in, excusing his tardiness by being delayed by an urgent telephone call from some pho-bob at the Pentagon. He would calmly deliver his status report and excuse himself, expecting another call from the head pho-bob at the Ballistic Missile Office. I would sit there in awe wondering how he continually got away with it. And it was only lately, at his 90th birthday party, where all was revealed: he walked on water. I should have known.

It was during that time at SAC that I learned of Edgars flying career had been cut short by an inadvertent conversation with the Flight Surgeon. But before he was grounded, he had flown the T-33, the F-80 and the F-86. It was Edgars calm demeanor which said he was red-hot fighter pilot. He must have been to be selected to instruct Japanese General Minoru Genda, who already had had a distinguished flying career.

Were it not for grounding under vague medical regulations, Ed could have easily been my F-4 Squadron Commander in Vietnam. I finally learned firsthand what a great pilot he was when one day, in the mid-80s, Ed invited me to fly with him in his Mooney. It didnt take long for me to know Ed was one of the few pilots that had golden hands.

But his most defining characteristic was calmness under pressure. He must have been perfect as a Titan-II Strategic Missile Wing commander. These missiles were dangerous and disaster prone. The only question for a Wing Commander was whether or not disaster would strike on his watch. Edgar made it through this assignment unscathed where others did not, and he did because he could deal with pressure when things went wrong.

So this is the picture of Edgar Northrup that I wish to leave with you. He was smart, totally knowledgeable, fun to be around, but at the same time a total professional, in charge of whatever duty he was given to achieve. Edgar would have been promoted to General Officer in 1977 had he not been grounded. He was my friend and I will be eternally grateful that he walked my resume into Titan in 1982. God love you Ed. Rest in Peace.
Colonel Al Walters
July 11, 2020
Words cannot express the many wonderful memories I have of Edgar. Since the day he and Cathy Ball hired me to work at Titan in 1984 until we lost him in June, he added a depth of fun and friendship to my life like few others.
Our first professional experience still brings a smile to my face. Picture working in a secure defense facility on a top secret project, and there is a meeting with "the client" to examine design progress... In front of the client, Edgar matter of factly states "to think I have been planning for nuclear war my entire life, and now I find out we're not going to have one!"
I was the project admin manager. Edgar did not care for completing expense reports, in spite of my cajoling. Surely you dont want Titan to gain from your cash flow? After six months, I got a stack of receipts for thousands of dollars, and at project end a similar stack. He enhanced my career.
He had a twinkle in his eye. He chewed on toothpicks. We enjoyed having cocktails together. The first year of our association I procured various miniatures and brought the stash into the facility in brown paper bags to help us through the many extra night working hours the project demanded.
When I was in San Diego, we always had margaritas at his favorite Mexican restaurant in LaJolla. On occasion I stayed at his Bird Key condo.
Ben met Edgar and we met Natalie over cocktails when by coincidence we found ourselves visiting Vancouver in 1997. Once Edgar met Pat, the two of them would travel to the East Coast where we four would rendezvous often with Cathy. One very cold morning there was a knock on my door in Old Town Alexandria, and I was wondering who in heavens name would be out in this weather? He and Pat had walked over from their hotel on the Potomac a half mile away requesting coffee.
Every May Day I called him, missing only a few. Attending his 90th birthday party created more great memories, the last being the Starbucks morning coffee ritual.
I will miss my dear friend, Edgar.
Nancy Jenkins
July 8, 2020
Edgar was my friend. He was full of life and always able to read any group, or situation, and do his best to make things better. Edgar was also very funny. He was adept at sarcasm (in a good way), and always brought fun to any gathering. I will really miss Edgar's smile!
Scott Cameron
July 8, 2020
There was so much to love about Edgar. I knew that because our sister Pat loved him! And then when we got to know him, we understood why. We loved his sense of humor, the twinkle in his eye and his quiet chuckle that lightened the room. I also loved how he blended into our huge family and how we felt his love for us. His presence during our family gatherings made them special. He seemed to observe us all, and would chuckle at the bedlam that surrounded him. I think his sense of adventure and comraderie were on alert during those gatherings. His presence will be missed at our next gathering, who knows when that will be... but we will always have him in our memory and of course a glass of "Dewers neat"...will be close at hand. Rest in Peace Edgar.
Beth Cameron
July 7, 2020
Edgar (Ed) has been a dear friend and colleague for 52 years. We both started serving working in the Pentagon in 1968 and soon became the best of friends. Ed was my mentor trying to keep me out of trouble as I was a complete neophyte on military matters. He was only partially successful. Our offices were about as far apart as it was possible in the Pentagon, his being underground and mine on the opposite side 5th floor. I will never forget his 8 am morning calls that started with altitude check and then we would develop our plan for the day. We traveled the country together and undertook some very difficult projects-some were successfully completed and others were not. For example In 1970, we took on speeding up the commercialization of nuclear energy.. It is fair to say that we were not successful, but our presence was felt by the National labs for a short time. We continued to work together at SAI and Ed was very instrumental in starting The Titan Corporation where we continued working together. Ed was always cool calm and collected but he believed in gathering the facts as best you can and then making timely decisions and then TAKING ACTIONS. Get the problem solved!! He did that successfully through out his life. After retirement, Ed and I we continued to have lunch and discuss how to solve the problems of the world. Our last lunch was on 16 March 2020, literally the last day before the pandemic closed restaurants. It was enjoyable as always and Ed said he was doing fine, just as he always said. In our telephone calls since then we said we would have lunch again as soon as the restaurants reopened. Ed and his dry wonderful sense of humor is missed and will continue to be missed.
Gene Ray
July 6, 2020
Pat, Carol, Natalie so sorry for your loss. Ed was a friend and mentor who strongly influenced our lives. Serving under his leadership at the 390SMW, and at Headquarters Strategic Air Command was a highlight in our Air Force career. He will be missed.

Bill and Corky Grant
Colonel Bill Grant
Served In Military Together
July 4, 2020
I met Edgar when I joined Titan in 1982. Many fun times were had by all. Never saw him without a smile or a dry wit quip. We lost a great man but have many, many memories to look back on. Wheels up, my friend!
Norma Synan
July 4, 2020
I have never admired a man more than Edgar. Ever! I had the chance to fly with him many times and even at advanced age and health, he never failed to amaze me with his stick and rudder skills. His was a life we should all aspire to! A gentleman to the very core!
Troy E Ball
July 4, 2020
Edgar Northrop was one of the most intriguing and fascinating people I have ever known. I worked closely with Edgar for many years at Titan, and he was a joy to be with. In 1984, he gave me the courage to fly my Cessna 170-B to Oshkosh for the chaotic annual EAA fly-in by bravely occupying the right seat. He had unfailing good spirits, an ultra-dry sense of humor, and a brilliant analytical mind. He was a valued mentor, a close friend, an amazing aviator and pilot, and so much more. He will be missed more than I can possibly say.

Cathy Ball
Cathy Ball
July 3, 2020
Carol, so sorry for your loss.
Michael Luby
July 3, 2020
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