Elmen C. Quesinberry

Earlier this year I wrote a belated tribute to a well-known pioneer in strapdown. Now I must write another tribute, even more belated, to a pioneer who was less well-known — but with a legacy equal to any other whose work helped mine to come alive.

Over three decades (Feb 1961 to Nov 1993) I was a full-time employee of Westinghouse (division names varied from AirArm to DESC to …) — but what I want to express here is first of all a salute to many of the people whose paths crossed with mine. That word “many” is no exaggeration; one recollection that stands out occurred during a chance conversation with Tim Gunn, at about lunch hour, near the cafeteria. Over and over again, seemingly everyone-&-their-brother walking by, was saying “Hi” to me. Tim was flabbergasted at how many people I knew, whether they were from the shop (in some of those cases, from barbershop quartet or other music activities) or — in many other cases — from one department or another of engineering.

In recollection it is crystal clear that, during that time period, I was privileged to work with many of the best. That includes names like Joe Dorman, Jim Mims,  … And when position/velocity/acceleration gains had to be set for track at lock-on over 7 octaves of range with 16-bit words, George Axelby and John Stuelpnagel helped show the way — and who could forget the Schafer/Leedom/Weigle triumvirate or, from TIR, Bill Hopwood or, from software, names like Heasley + Landry + Kahn + Clark (who as a techie was among the best, as was another from his group — working with me on A12 when John crossed into management) — plus others, too numerous to mention. Many of the latter names are more obscure, it is realized; in some ways that’s the most important part of this effort, to give credit where credit is overdue. Of all the best-and-brightest named &/or unnamed here, no one stands higher in my memory than Elmen C. Quesinberry. His contribution to Westinghouse’s collection of achievements over time is realized by only very few. I guess what’s important is that he realized it himself; he earned every bit of his salary, and much more.

This revisit-of-history isn’t intended to imply that all was sunshine + roses; in fact, we encountered some major opposition. No need to go into detail now, but many had peripheral (or less) understanding. I made my peace with those long ago and have no desire to retract it. For doubters, flight-validated results appear elsewhere on this site. Enough said; of central importance here is the lasting legacy of a truly great engineer. Elmen C. Quesinberry, a true Christian gentlemen, was an outstanding engineer whose collaboration gave me benefits unsurpassed by any other over three decades at Westinghouse.

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