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Philip Waldron, former personnel manager at Lincoln Laboratory, dies at 87

Philip Waldron, a former personnel manager who worked at MIT Lincoln Laboratory for 44 years, died at home on Sunday, Jan. 10. He was 87.

Waldron joined Lincoln Laboratory in 1952, and, excluding one year he spent as site manager of the Arecibo Ionospheric Observatory in Puerto Rico, worked continuously at MIT until his retirement in 1997. At Lincoln, he was assistant or associate project leader for programs in space communications, including the West Ford orbital dipole communication experiment, which ran from 1959 to 1964; and the entire series of Lincoln Experimental Satellites (LES), from LES-1 to LES-8/9, which spanned from 1965 to 1976.

For the LES-8/9 program, Waldron led the Integration and Test Office, which was responsible for the final assembly of the satellites and their testing program. In this role, he was in charge of all interactions with the Energy Research and Development Administration, the General Electric Company, which supplied the power source of the LES-8/9 spacecraft, the Air Force, and the launch-integrating contractor. He also coordinated all LES-8/9 prelaunch operations at Cape Canaveral.

During his time at Lincoln, Waldron served in a number of leadership positions within the technical divisions: assistant leader of the Space Techniques and Equipment Group (1964 to 1971); assistant leader (1972 to 1973) and then associate leader (1973 to 1976) of the Control Systems Engineering Group; and associate head of the Engineering Division (1976 to 1986). In 1986, he was appointed personnel manager, responsible for all human resources functions.

Waldron grew up in Taunton, Mass., and earned an A.B. degree from Brown University in 1943. During World War II, he served as an officer in the U.S. Navy, completing tours of duty in the Mediterranean, where his first ship sank, and later in the Pacific. For three years before joining Lincoln Laboratory, he taught English at Boston University. As a member of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), he served on the AIAA Technical Committee on Communications and the Space Systems Committee.

He is survived by his wife of 15 years, Lois; three children; six grandchildren; one great-grandchild; and four step-children.

A memorial service for Waldron will he held on Saturday, Jan. 30, at 2 p.m. at the First Parish Church, 225 Cabot St., Beverly, Mass.

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