JACK LELAND ALFORD
1920 CA –2006 CA
SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE
San Diego, San Diego Co., CA—Sunday, 5 March 2006
Alford, Jack Leland—Born November 19, 1920 in
Long Beach, Calif.; passed away in San Diego February 11, 2006.
Born into a Navy family, Jack attended Punahou
School in Hawaii and the Harvard School in Los Angeles as a young man. Jack
went on to attend the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis and was an active member
of the class of 1941 alumni group. He was commissioned as a Ensign in 1942 and
served as an aircraft maintenance officer at Pearl Harbor and North Island
Naval Air Station through the end of World War II. After the war he returned to
Cal Tech, where he received his Masters and Doctoral degrees in Engineering,
graduating Magna Cum Laude.
After post-doctoral work in earthquake research,
he was employed as a research engineer in the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and
headed the engineering division of the US Naval Ordinance Test Station. He also
worked at Technicolor Corporation as Assistant Technical Director. Later, at
Aerojet, he headed the design project for the fuel tanks on the first NASA
lunar landing module. Those fuel tanks can still be seen today on the Landing
Module at the Smithsonian Institute’s Air and Space Museum in Washington D.C.
In 1959 Jack was hired as one of the first three
members of prestigious Harvey Mudd College’s engineering department, where he
eventually served as Chairman for eleven years and held the Dutch Kindelberger
Chair. In 1963, he developed the college’s very successful Engineering Clinic,
which allows students to gain “hands-on” engineering experience by working on
company-sponsored research and design projects. The clinics are still an
integral part of college’s curriculum. Jack retired from Harvey Mudd in 1990.
An avid sailor in his spare time, he was an
active member of the Balboa Yacht club, where he chaired the committee that ran
the annual Ensenada Yacht Race in the 1970s. Since his retirement, he enjoyed
living in the San Diego area and was especially active as a president and board
member of the Pacific Regent, where he resided with his wife.
Jack is survived by his wife Elizabeth Humann of
San Marino, his son Chris of Huntington Beach and his daughter Margaret of
Springfield, VA as well as four granddaughters.
In accordance with Jack’s wishes, his remains
were placed in the care of the Neptune Society and his ashes will be scattered
at sea. A private memorial was held at Pacific Regent for family and friends....
NOTES: SSDI records confirm the birth and death dates of Jack L.
Alford (SS# issued in HI), last residence San Diego, San Diego Co., CA.
We included the obituaries of his wife, Edith Elizabeth
“Betty” Humann Alford; and father, Leon Otto Alford, in California Obituaries;
and his grandfather Andrew Jackson Alford in Louisiana Obituaries.
For more information about this family, see
AAFA’s published genealogy, Known
Descendants of James Lodwick Alford (1749–1820).
His lineage: Jack Leland 1920 CA1,
Leon Otto 1893 LA2, Andrew Jackson 1854 LA3, Julius
Harmon 1819 MS4, Julius 1785 NC5, Hudson 1760 NC6,
James Lodwick 1749 NC7.