Sat08302014

Obituaries

ARTHUR R. ZIAS : April 11, 1937 - May 6, 2009

Beloved father, husband and grandfather Arthur Zias passed away May 6th at El Camino hospital in Mountain View. He suffered a major stroke and passed five days later.

Art’s life was all about family, music, electronics, physics, socializing and joke telling with friends from all walks of life. Art was a unique, authentic individual with an outsized personality. He was known for his wonderment and fascination with all things knowable. He pushed himself and encouraged others to think and reason beyond traditional boundaries and disciplines - at once summoning his vast knowledge of philosophy, science, history, religion and the arts to attack all intellectual puzzlements. His devotion to life-long learning informed his twin passions of music and engineering/physics. However, his greatest accomplishment, as he so often expressed, was his relationship with his wife Ellie, his children, Jeff and Sheryl, and especially his grandchildren, Danika, Kurt and Drew. He was, as acknowledged by his family, "the world’s greatest grandfather."

Art was born in New York City in Coney Island Hospital in 1937. He went on to attend Lincoln High School in Brooklyn. After graduating he attended the Brooklyn Polytechnic Institute, achieving a double major Bachelors degree in mechanical and electrical engineering. But music also beckoned. Art wrestled with the decision to be an engineer or musician. Art worked as a professional saxophone player at the major New York studios during the fifties. He played his saxophone first in the famous Catskill mountain resorts of New York, backing performers such as Alan King and playing with local groups, the Tito Puente orchestra and various spots on NBC recording dates. Ultimately engineering won out, leading to an acclaimed engineering career. However, he continued playing music with top professional musicians throughout his life. He played with A Touch of Brass for over 20 years.

Art met the love of his life and wife of 51 years, Ellie Bibaz in Brooklyn at the age of 16. They married in 1958 and settled in Brooklyn before moving to Syracuse NY in 1961 when Art joined the General Electrical Corporation.

Art's scientific career included participation in the formation of Silicon Valley's semiconductor, transducer, Mems and nano-technology industries. A brilliant device physicist who applied sensor transduction principles in new ways, he moved to California in 1969 to join Fairchild Semiconductor.

Art was a founding member of the Bells Labs team that pioneered the solid state sensor industry. The invention of this technology at Bell Labs by Art and his team was carried forward to General Electric, Honeywell, Fairchild Semiconductor, National Semiconductor and then smaller Mems and nanotechnology silicon valley startups.

At Fairchild, and later at National Semiconductor in the 1970s, Art invented new forms of semiconductor pressure transduction that proved crucial for the American auto, aerospace and military industries. He received 14 patents for inventions spanning the transducer and nano-technology sectors.

Art is survived by his wife Ellie, his children Sheryl (and Brian) and Jeff (and Deborah Elizabeth), his grandchildren Danika, Kurt, and Drew, his sister Elaine (and Irving), niece Daniella and loving aunt, uncle and cousins.

Art will always be in the hearts and memories of his many devoted friends and family members. He was known for his extremely outgoing, comical personality, brilliant mind for physics, application of his Mems and nanotechnology inventions, and for his fiery saxophone performances when he played the jazz that he appreciated so much.

A celebration of life will be held at Spangler Mortuary in Los Altos on May 30th, 3PM. In lieu of flower, the family would appreciate donations in Art's name to be made to the American Diabetes Association at 1-800-DIABETES , 1-800-342-2383.

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