In Memoriam

If you want to note the passing of someone that you knew, or add your personal comment about someone you knew, please do so at the bottom of this page.

Richard Allen Bent, 65, March 17, 2018, Formerly Manager of Exhibits
Frederick Martin Blaich Jr., 87, February 2, 2018
Herbert Ray Graham, 89, February 22, 2018, 27 years at TRW
Yoshito (Joe) Ideta, 89. March 15, 2018
Frederick H. Kaufman, 88, March 23, 2018, managed many successful programs in STG. 36 years at TRW
L. Curtis Killian, October, 2017
Jean Simril, February 3, 2018
Carol E. Turner, April 7, 2018
Robert F. Wasson, 91, April 6, 1018
William Chen-Hsien Wong, 83, March 20, 2018
Thomas A. Zimmerman, Ph.D., 76, February 14, 2018, Electrical Engineer, 33 years at TRW

For a complete listing of deceased retirees, click here.

The first step in notifying Northrop Grumman of a retiree’s death is to call the NG Benefits Service Center at 800-894-4194.  For many retirees, there is a Burial Benefit which will be paid to the beneficiary upon proper notification of death.  The Benefits Center does NOT notify TRA of the death due to privacy laws.

If you know of a deceased retiree that should be included in the “In Memoriam” column in future NNGs, please inform us by either mail or email to the TRA office.  As a minimum, we need the name of the deceased; date of death; and the name of the person submitting the information.  If more information is available and desired, include age, position and years at NG/TRW, any notable programs, and special skills.

20 thoughts on “In Memoriam

  1. Yo Wakamiya (85) passed away on Oct 16,2018.
    He had a BS and MS in EE from UCLA, and joined STL in 1959. He retired from TRW in 1992 where he worked in satellite controls and subcontracts management. He contributed to the success of our DoD and National Programs. Graveside services will be held on Thursday, Dec 27, at 11:30am at Green Hills Memorial Park, 27501 S. Western Ave., Rancho Palos Verdes. You may sign his guest book at Daily
    Mal Kong

  2. If you are planning on attending the service for Bill Holcombe, please let us know and we will forward your info so that the family will how many people to expect
    20 February – Tuesday – 10:30 ..

    Riverside National Cemetery
    22495 Van Buren Blvd
    Riverside, CA 92518

    After the Ceremony everyone is invited to meet at Bill’s Sister Lucillle’s home

    2817 Panarama Hills Drive
    Menifee, CA 92584

    The family discovered that Bill’s obituary page that has not been updated yet. However, people can post photos or write on it if they want to.
    by clicking here.

  3. I am saddened to report the passing of my father, Donald M. Piehler, on 5 October 2017. Don hired into STL in 1960 and retired from TRW DSG Colorado Springs in 1991. Dad managed the flight testing of the MINUTEMAN 1, II and III ICBMs. On establishing the TRW DSG office in Colorado Springs, he added Command Control and Intelligence systems to his repertoire. He was a kind, gentle and loving husband, father and grandfather. A full obituary is located in the Orange County Register at

  4. From: Patricia Ruda Bullard
    October 13 at 4:55pm

    Funeral services for Jerry Bullard who passed away after a swift return of cancer, on Thursday, October 12, 2017, will be held Tuesday, October 17, at 10:30 a.m. at the Baraboo First United Methodist Church, 615 Broadway, Baraboo, WI 53913. Visitation will be held at the church from 5-7 p.m. on the evening of Monday, October 16 and from 9:30 a.m. until the time of service on Tuesday. Friends who wish to remember him may consider memorials to First United Methodist Church of Baraboo, WI. Redlin Funeral Home [401 Madison Avenue Baraboo, WI 53913. 608-356-6571.] is assisting the family with arrangements.

  5. Greetings !

    My name is Mike Gearhart, son of Jack Gearhart.
    I noticed that dad was not present in the list of TRW/NG retirees whom have passed away.

    Jack B. Gearhart passed away peacefully Christmas morning in his San Diego, California home at the age of 93 due to complications associated with Alzheimer’s Disease.
    Dad’s career included opportunities at McDonald Douglas, Northrop (the original company) STL and TRW.

    Jack was born November 8, 1921 in Omaha, Nebraska
    He graduated from Iowa State with a bachelor’s degree in Aeronautical Engineering. He was a member of the ATO Fraternity. Advanced education included a MBA from UCLA.
    He married Jacqueline Bergeson in Los Angeles California.
    During 71 years of marriage, they moved 13 times and raising 3 sons and 8 dogs.

    Jack served our country briefly, enlisting in the Navy during World War II.
    At Northrop, he was flight test engineer on the “Flying Wing” during its development.
    Follow on work at STL included work on the Mercury program.
    TRW challenges included various Air Force development programs and then program management in the Space Systems Group.
    His “sunset challenge” was to head up the building and activation of the TRW World Headquarters building in Ohio.
    In retirement, he enjoyed golfing, bowling, playing cards and was a true family man who loved travel in their RV and playing with his grandchildren,
    Jack was known as a “punster” with a witty sense of humor.

    Jack is survived by his wife Jackie, 3 sons, 8 grandchildren and 7 great-grandchildren.

    Please let me know if there are any questions – FYI, Jackie is remaining in touch with the TRA by continuing his membership.

    Thanks – Have a super day

  6. The TRA received the following note from Mary Bhuta regarding her husband, Pravin:

    “Pravin G. Bhuta passed away early Thursday, July 20, 2017, at his home in Los Osos, CA. He had been in declining health for abut a year from complications of pulmonary fibrosis, a form of COPD.

    He was clear-minded, alert and in full charge of his medical care with Hospice to the end. He was not bedridden, but walking with a walker and help until his last moments. He visited gladly with friends by phone, e-mail and in person. He made valiant efforts to recover and sustain his health as long as he could.

    He was cremated and disposition of the remains is to be determined at a later date.
    There will be a celebration of his life at his home in Los Osos on August 24, 2017.”

  7. Dave Payne tragically and unexpectedly passed away on June 10th from complications arising post surgery.

    Christine Payne would like to let everyone know the following events will take place to celebrate Dave’s life: Friday, June 23rd – Spiritual Service/Remembrance – 5p to 7pm – St. Catherine’s Church – 17400 Peak Ave, Morgan Hill, CA 95037 Saturday, June 24th – Celebration of Life – 4p to 7pm Morgan Hill Community & Cultural Center – Amphitheater 17000 Monterey Road, Morgan Hill, CA 95037 POTLUCK – please bring your favorite food to share Beer & Wine will be provided Please remember to upload any photos of Dave that you have to the following site: We hope to see you there to celebrate the life of Dave Payne. Please share this information with all.

    His wife, Christine, is not only faced with the grief from the sudden loss of her soulmate, but now the financial responsibility of their 4 children: Alex, who just graduated from college; Lauren, who just finished her sophomore year in college; Eric, who is about to enter college; and Ryan who is still in high school. We’re establishing this fund so friends & family can help the Payne family during this difficult time. Sincerely, John & Lisa Riordan.

  8. We have hard from the Marts family, letting us know of the passing of Carl “John” Marts on Tuesday, May 23 after a short battle with cancer. John has been a long-time TRA member.
    He was a loving husband to Beverly Marts, a father to Carl “Jay” Marts & Linda Farnum, a grandfather to Tyler & Kellie Farnum, Eva Marts and a great-grandfather to Mason.
    The funeral will be held at First Lutheran Church, 2900 W Carson Street, Torrance, Ca. Saturday June 10th at 11 a.m. Lunch will follow.
    We thank you in advance for being supportive of our family during this very challenging time. We will need and cherish your prayers in the upcoming days and weeks. Please let us know if you will be able to join us in celebrating John’s Life.
    In lieu of flowers, gifts may be made to the San Diego Zoo in memory of John Marts, San Diego Zoo, P.O. Box 120551, San Diego, CA 92112 or online at

  9. Tim Moore wrote us about his father, Bob, who passed away last month:

    “On March 27th Bob Moore passed away after a brief illness. Bob was a month shy of 94 years old. Bob received his BS EE from University of Colorado. From 1954-59 Bob worked at Douglass Aircraft. In 1959 Bob started at STL/TRW where he worked on the SAINT then the Atlas-Agena programs (this last program broke off from TRW to form Aerospace). He then transitioned to Project Mercury where he got to meet and work with the Mercury 7 astronauts. In 1966 Bob returned to TRW working on many programs, including FLTSATCOM and TDRSS. Bob’s highlights included being a key member of the TDRSS recovery. Before Bob retired in 1992, he was the domain expert for an early NASA expert system called MOORE – a rule-based, prototype expert system that assists in diagnosing operational Tracking and Data Relay Satellite (TDRS) problems.”

  10. Dave Vandervoet has informed us of the passing of Chuck Sylvia at age 82. In addition to his work in Quality Assurance at TRW, Chuck served on the Los Alamitos City Council for 25 years and as mayor for 4 terms. Dave spoke at Chuck’s memorial, noting his work in Quality Assurance on the Milstar satellite payload program, and that Chuck’s legacy was the safety and security of all of us in the room and in the United States. Since no one knew what Chuck worked on, many were moved and some had a tear in their eye.

  11. I had the opportunity to work with Eric Swiss on new business pursuits over the years. It was always great working with him, he was a real professional. He also was an adult leader in the Boy Scouts of America and helped lead several scout troops to the National Jamboree in Virginia around 2004. His influence went beyond engineering. Sorry to see him leave us so soon.

  12. Eric Seiss, 58, passed away after a lengthy illness. Eric was born in Chicago, but spent the majority of his life in the Beach cities. He earned his PhD at USC and worked in the Space Communications Systems Engineering organization, but he is also famous for being an outfielder for the Selouts softball team.
    A Celebration of Life will be held on July 30 from 1:00 to 3:00 at Resurrection Lutheran Church, 330 Palos Verdes Blvd, Redondo Beach, CA. In lieu of flowers, please send donations to or Aftrican Wildlife Foundation.

    • I’m shocked to hear of Eric’s passing. We were in Alaska at the time of his death. He was a great guy. So shocking he is gone at such a young age. I just signed up on the website. You are doing a terrific job! Thanks.

  13. Bob Patterson I had the pleasure of working with Bob for over 30 years at TRW and NGC. He was an outstanding human being and a excellent engineer that made significant contributions to many Space Park Programs. I’ll miss him.

  14. Susie Page reports to us that her father, William B. J. Shakespeare, passed away at age 96 late last year. William retired from TRW in 1981. Following his retirement, his love for aerospace called him back and he was retained as a consultant by the California Museum Foundation in the new Los Angeles Aerospace Museum. His responsibility was to design and supervise the installation of all hardware necessary to display the aerospace exhibits. The museum was completed and dedicated for the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles.

  15. Leta Winifred Risch (“Winnie” to her friends and family) passed away peacefully in her sleep at her home on the evening of July 6, 2016. Winnie was born on May 4, 1927 in Melvern, Kansas to Louis and Veda Kramer. In her early years she was an avid singer and loved to perform in musicals and was her high school class homecoming queen and valedictorian. After moving to California, Winnie attended UCLA and then returned to Kansas where she attended the University of Kansas. In 1951 she met John Risch and the two were married in 1952. Winnie and John settled in Torrance where Winnie lived for 55 years in the same house. In 1982 at the time of John’s death, they were married for 29 years.

    Winnie loved her children and during their early years stayed at home playing an active part in their education and development. After returning to work, she was employed by TRW (now Northrup Grumman) for almost 20 years as an Administrative Assistant in the Dominguez Hills facility.

    She was a long-time member of St. Andrews Presbyterian Church in Redondo Beach serving in various capacities, but her passion was teaching Sunday school to the Church’s youth. In her later years Winnie loved to travel and remained a loving part of her children’s and step-grandchildren’s lives.

    Winnie is survived by her son Tim and his wife Yolanda, daughter Cindie and her husband Mike, along with her three step grand-children, Mike, Brian and Jennifer and two great step grand-children Khloe and Ellery. Her loving older sister, Dorothy Stanley, still lives in northern California.

    Winnie will be laid to rest at Green Hills Memorial Park at 11:30 a.m. on July 16, 2016. A celebration of Winnie’s life will be held after at 1 p.m. at St. Andrews Presbyterian Church in Redondo Beach. A reception will follow immediately after. All who knew Winnie are invited.

    For those who wish to make a lasting remembrance of Winnie, a donation can be made in her name to the American Cancer Society.

  16. Margaret Walker has written to let us know of the passing of her husband, Philip C. Walker, who was a Systems Engineer and Senior Project Manager at NG/TRW for over 30 years. Philip passed away on May 27, 2016.

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