George Watkins Ewell , 71
Passed Away: 09/12/2012
George Watkins Ewell lost his battle with pancreatic cancer on September 12, 2012, after a four year struggle.
George was born on June 14, 1941, in North Augusta, Georgia. He lived his entire life in the South and graduated from high school in Clearwater, Florida. While in high school he was active in Boy Scouts achieving the rank of Eagle Scout. He also developed a strong interest in electronics and was a licensed Amateur Radio Operator. “Ham Radio” helped channel his interest in electronics and was useful in subsequent employment as a Co-Operative Student while at Georgia Tech working with Scientific-Atlanta during the expansion of that company from tens to hundreds of employees and its emergence as a leader in the field of satellite TV.
George had a 53 year connection with Georgia Tech. He entered as a Co-Operative Student in 1959. Upon his graduation with a degree in electrical engineering, he began full-time employment with the Georgia Tech Engineering Station (now known as the Georgia Tech Research Institute). While employed full-time and supporting his family, he received his Masters and Ph.D. in electrical engineering. He was fond of pointing out that he was continuously enrolled as a student at Georgia Tech for 18 years.
While employed at Georgia Tech, his initial work was concerned with detection of submarine periscopes using radar. This evolved into studies of techniques to avoid detection of submerged submarines using radar, which provided input into use of the United States ballistic missile fleet. A detailed knowledge of foreign radar characteristics was an integral part of these studies which led to an involvement in evaluation of potential performance of radars of the former Soviet Union.
A parallel interest developed in high power radar transmitters culminating in publication of his book Radar Transmitters, portions of eight other electrical engineering references and author or co-author of over 140 articles and presentations. He was a nationally recognized expert in radar transmitters.
George participated in investigations of topics crucial to national defense and preparedness. He was part of a number of largely anonymous teams investigating topics such as the survivability of the U.S. submarine missile fleet and development of the Stealth technology for both aircraft and submarine periscope and antennas. He was intimately involved in the development of the F-117 Fighter which proved so effective during the Gulf War.
He retired from Georgia Tech in 1994, after 30 years of service, but he continued involvement as a consultant to a number of important programs.
While George did not serve in the active military, he was a patriot of the highest order and strong supporter of the armed forces. He came from a strong military background. Both his grandfathers were career army officers, his father served in World War II, his brother served in the Air Force. His daughter and son-in-law are former Army officers.
While George was committed to his career and to any project in which he was involved, his top priority was always his family. He is survived by his wife of 48 years, Nanne Price Ewell, daughters Carol Holly of Cumming, GA, and Nancy Exnicios of New Orleans, LA, two granddaughters Sarah and Maggie Holly of Cumming, one grandson Richard Ewell “Rex” Exnicios of New Orleans, two sons-in-law James Holly and Richard Exnicios and one brother Harleigh Ewell of Chevy Chase, Maryland.
In October 2008, George was diagnosed with non-resectable pancreatic cancer, a condition for which median survival is typically 5-6 months. He was enrolled in an experimental protocol at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas and was very grateful for the excellent treatment and care he was given there and locally by Atlanta Cancer Care Forsyth/Cumming.
George was honored in November 2011, by his local gym Bodyplex/Cumming when they established a team to walk in his honor in the annual Purple Stride Walk/Run sponsored by the PANCAN Organization. PANCAN (Pancreatic Cancer Action Network) is a primary fundraiser for the fight against pancreatic cancer. George was pleased to be able to participate in the walk/run and appreciated all who participated and contributed. The family requests that donations be made in his memory to the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network.
A memorial service is planned for September 22, 2012 at 2:00 pm at Ingram Funeral Home in Cumming with reception to follow across the street at Tam’s Backstage.
Ingram Funeral Home & Crematory, Cumming, Georgia is in charge of arrangements.
Condolences may be made at www.ingramfuneralhome.com.
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