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Former Lincoln Lab assistant director Freedman dead at 81

Jerome Freedman, assistant director of MIT Lincoln Laboratory from 1968 to 1987, died on July 21 at St. Patrick's Nursing Home in Framingham, MA. He was 81.

Mr. Freedman was born in New York City, where he received the Bachelor of Engineering degree from the College of the City of New York (1938) and a Masters in Electrical Engineering from the Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn (1951).

In 1942, he entered military service as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Army Signal Corps and attended the Harvard/MIT Radar School. Upon completion of this training, he served in the Pacific Ocean area as a Radar Officer in charge of a radar installation and maintenance team until the end of World War II.

Mr. Freedman joined the staff of MIT Lincoln Laboratory in August 1952, participating in the planning of the Airborne Early Warning (AEW) and the Distant Early Warning (DEW) radar programs. He was appointed leader of the Airborne Radar Systems Group in 1953 and appointed head of the Radar Division as well as a member of the Lincoln Laboratory Steering Committee in 1955. He became assistant director of the Lincoln Laboratory in 1968.

William Delaney, Director's Office Fellow at Lincoln Laboratory, commented, "Jerry was a 'doer' and he led and trained a generation of 'doers.' Lincoln Laboratory and the nation were fortunate to have him."

Mr. Freedman served on the Defense Science Task Force with Dennis J. Picard, Chairman and CEO of Raytheon Corp.

"Jerry was a close friend and colleague for many years... a great engineer (who) gave great benefit and service to his country," said Mr. Picard.

Since his retirement in 1987, Mr. Freedman was appointed Chairman of the Steering Group for the SDIO Mid-Course Sensors Study. In April, 1988, he received from the Department of Defense the Secretary of Defense Medal for Outstanding Public Service.

His daughter, MaryAnne Freedman, recalled, "He liked to think of himself as a tinkerer around the house, but we all knew better and mainly just kept out of his way when he worked on his 'projects.' Being a true engineer, no project was started without several sharpened pencils and a full pad of graph paper.

"In the summer, you couldn't miss him: He was the one in the seersucker suit," said Ms. Freedman.

Mr. Freedman leaves his wife, Margaret M.; three sons, Jerome Jr. of Burlington, James M. of Holliston and Edward I. of Attleboro; four daughters, MaryAnne Freedman of Winchester, Susan Perkins of Norfolk, Patricia Hall of Marlboro and Betsy Stearns of Grafton; and 11 grandchildren.

A funeral Mass was held in St. Julia's Church in Weston on July 24. He was buried in Linwood Cemetery in Weston.

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on September 12, 1998.

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