Obituaries

Wallace Jon Erichsen

Wallace Jon Erichsen online 082119September 28, 1919 - July 14, 2019 Wallace was called July 14, 2019 to a place where sorrow and pain cannot follow. Now he is reunited forever with the love of his life, Ruth Job Erichsen. They were high school sweethearts, married soon after graduating from Mountain View High School and enjoyed 78 years together. A native of Mountain View, Wallace was the son of Walter Leith and Ethel Irene (Lawrence) Erichsen, he was born September 28, 1919. He was predeceased by his parents, his older brother Lawrence, and his younger sister, Dorothy. Wallace is survived by his four children, Wallace Jon, Jr (Carol) Erichsen, Susan Ruth (Gary) Stutheit, Miriam Martha (Chuck) Stansfield, and Thomas David(Janna) Erichsen. He also leaves seven grandchildren, Ellen Erichsen, Gregory Stutheit, Laura (Stutheit) McNamara, Ellen (Stutheit) Jackson, Stacy (Wilson) Woodruff, Tommy Erichsen, and Amy Erichsen, and eight great-grandchildren. Wallace graduated from Stanford in 1944, and taking a Master’s degree in 1947 in Metallurgical Engineering, then was employed by Joshua Hendy Ironworks which later became Westinghouse in Sunnyvale.

As Manager of Material and Processes Engineering at Westinghouse, Wallace developed specialized alloys that were designed specifically for unique special projects as well as large government contracts. Over the 39-year span of his career, Wallace was instrumental in manufacturing many notable projects such as the Tullahoma Wind Tunnel, “the world’s largest machine”. Built in the mid-50’s, the wind tunnel was driven by 4 electric motors with a combined 216,000 horsepower, and used to test supersonic jets, missiles, and rockets. Wallace’s lab developed the alloy used to build the submersible Calypso that could withstand the pressure of 300 meter dives. Wallace was a recognized member of professional societies, holding national offices in the American Society for Metals (ASM) Board of Trustees 1974-1977. He had a Special Lifetime Membership (member since 1944) and has been recognized for his dedicated service to them. He received the ASM Fellow Award in 1970 in the inaugural class of Fellows of ASM. He also was a charter member of the American Welding Society since 1952, and received the National Meritorious Award in 1984 from the AWS. Dedicated to civic causes as well, he was a member of the former Los Altos Homeowner’s League and the Mountain View Historical Association. Wallace spearheaded the project “Save The Adobe”, a historical building used as an event venue. Wallace enjoyed taking his young family of four children on summer vacations and holidays. He loved going to Yosemite, and other state and national parks. The family also spent many summers exploring old California missions and museums. Carmel was also a favorite local destination. He organized many family reunions, celebrations, and gatherings. A gracious host, he generously opened his home to neighbors and friends when they dropped by for a visit. Wallace loved spending time outdoors getting his exercise. He played tennis and enjoyed skiing well into his 60’s, and was often found in his yard maintaining the lovely gardens. After retirement he planned extensive travels for Ruth and himself taking a full year to see Europe, and again several years later to go around the world. They were great travelers, seeing many different countries, meeting many different people and making friends throughout their travels. Many became life-long friends hailing from countries such as Germany, Australia, Malaysia, Japan, and South Korea. Wallace left a mark on his family, the community, and his world. Though Westinghouse is now Northrop Grumman, you can still see the “stamp” of his tenure in the processes that have been signed off and approved by him on the workshop floor. He will be missed by many.

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