Howard Edmonds Gerlaugh

Howard Edmonds Gerlaugh (BS '47, MS '51, Elec Egr), age 86, died peacefully on January 14, 2011. Raised on a farm in Medway, Ohio, where the Wright brothers had tested their flying machine in the farm fields, Gerlaugh pursued his passion for aircraft by serving as a second lieutenant in the Army Signal Corp, training servicemen in microwave radio communications.

He completed his BS and MS degrees cum laude at Michigan State University. A licensed professional engineer, he worked for General Electric for 37 years. His love of airplanes manifested in his design work on high-bypass turbines used to power some of the largest jet aircraft.

As part of the Apollo lunar mission space program in Daytona Beach (1962-69), Gerlaugh managed a GE team that developed early computer database and networking systems. In Syracuse and Schenectady, New York, he worked in solar energy, self-contained hydroponic greenhouses, and gas turbine cogeneration power.

From the family farm, Gerlaugh inherited a love of living things. He left behind extensive gardens in each place he lived, was a master gardener in Schenectady and a board member of the Cornell Cooperative Extension. Always working to better his community, he spearheaded building a neighborhood swimming pool near Cincinnati; bolstered local education and tax-reform spending for seven years on the Volusia County (Florida) Council of Education; worked with World Federalists (now Citizens for Global Solutions) and the United Nations Association; and was an active member of the Unitarian Universalist Church for 60 years. A natural teacher, he taught the three-year advanced engineering program and the science of flight to youth at the Schenectady Science Museum. He was an avid sailor and canoeist.

Gerlaugh met the love of his life, Jeannette Kuroly Gerlaugh, at Michigan State and they were together for 61 years of marriage.

He is survived by Jeannette, and their three children Meribeth Zane of Rydal, Ga.; Holly Weidner of Vassalboro, Maine, and Jamey Gerlaugh of Takoma Park, Md.; his brother, Robert Gerlaugh, of Vero Beach, Fla.; his sister-in-law, Dorothy Campbell, of Belmont, Calif.; and three grandchildren, Phillip Zane, Katharine Weidner, and Molly Milne-Gerlaugh.