OBIT AlanClairPhillips

Alan passed away peacefully on October 18, 2017. He has left his earthly body, no longer burdened by Parkinson’s.

Alan was born January 31, 1935 in Salamanca, NY and grew up in nearby Ellicottville and North Carolina on his family’s dairy farm. Contracting polio changed the course of his life but it never defined him. He got his bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering at NC State. A Hughes Fellowship brought him to USC and then the pursuit of a PhD at Stanford to the SF Bay Area. In the Bay Area, Alan met and married Karen Mullen. In 1970, they purchased the home in Los Altos that they would live in for over thirty years.

Alan worked at SRI for over 10 years. Following SRI, he helped start ETAK where he helped  develop one of the first car navigation systems. Even in retirement, he was sought after for his electrical engineering expertise by many companies including Gyration, ShotSpotter, Coin Star, Sport Vision, and SK Communication. He amassed over a dozen patents on a wide range of inventions. Ever the tinkerer, Alan could often be found with a tool in his hand explaining how something worked. He was a member and former Elder of Union Presbyterian Church, Los Altos. Known for his quiet and kind nature, he was strong in his convictions and opinions. He leaves behind a legacy of perseverance and love.

Alan is survived by his wife of 50 years, Karen, his daughters, Diane (Mike Wharton) and Christina (David Goodwin), and his son Craig (Nadia) as well as seven grandchildren, Tyler Williams, Ian and Nathan Phillips, Frances, Amelia, and Ruby Goodwin, and Ryan Wharton.

A celebration and remembrance of his life will be held Saturday, February 17 from 2:00 - 4:00 at Union Presbyterian Church 858 University Ave, Los Altos in Bailey Hall.

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