Fred J.A. Damer
Wed, 10/11/2017 - 10:01am admin
Fred J.A. Damer, Los Angeles, Calif., passed away Sept. 1, 2017, at the age of 81 years, after a three-year battle with Alzheimer’s disease.
Fred Damer was born Aug. 2, 1936, in Guhren, Germany, a city about 200 miles southeast of Berlin, which became present day Poland after World War II.
Fred’s father, William Damer, had a prosperous dairy farming business on 120 acres in Guhren, until the war started. In 1945, with an advancing Russian front, William Damer made the decision to leave everything behind and travel west with his wife and six children, by horse and carriage, to his mother-in-law’s farm near Munster, Germany (close to the border of Holland). The journey took five weeks, with the family not knowing if they would find a place to eat and sleep each day.
When they reached the farm in western Germany, his family waited for five years before immigrating to the United States on June 6, 1950. They entered the United States through New York City and made their way to New Underwood. Here they took part in an immigrant sponsorship program, where they would manage and share crop a farm of about 2,000 acres. Fred started school at New Underwood High School, speaking no English, but being able to kick a football harder than anyone could in the entire school. This quickly gained him friends and English tutors, helping him learn the language quickly.
Fred attended Arizona State University and graduated in 1960 with a degree in electrical engineering. After being in the reserves for two years, he took a job with RCA in Yukata, Alaska, working on the early missile detection warning systems. Two years later, in 1965, he took a job in the growing aerospace industry of the San Fernando Valley with Litton Industries as a systems guidance engineer. He worked with a team of engineers in designing the navigation systems for the F14 Tomcat, B1B Lancer bomber, Apache, Cobra and Sikorsky CH53 helicopters and the Space Shuttle. The highlight of his career came as the chief designer on the Long Range Aeronautical Navigation System (LORANS) program.
While working at Litton Industries, Fred joined the Catholic Alumni Club of Los Angeles, where he met Mary Damer, a corporate secretary at McDonald Douglas Aircraft’s representative’s office in Westchester. They married on Feb. 12, 1966, at St. Cyril’s of Jerusalem Church in Encino and had two children, Eric and Alex.
After two years at Litton Industries, Fred took a better paying job at Teledyne Systems, where he would ramin for 40 years, until he retired in 2006 at the age of 70. During his time at Teledyne, Fred went on to received a master’s in business administration from Pepperdine University, graduating with high honors.
Fred enjoyed camping trips with his family, backpacking in the eastern high Sierras, square dancing, bridge and spending time with his family and grandchildren.
Fred is survived by his wife, Mary; sons, Eric and Alex; stepdaughter, Linda; and grandchildren, Philip 14, Emily, 12, and Andrew, nine.