Owen “Bud” Elliott Pallakoff

Bud Pallakoff 122519 onlineSeptember 16, 1930 – November 17, 2019 Bud Pallakoff, beloved husband, father, grandfather & friend passed away at home surrounded by his children, at age 89. Born in 1930 in Kansas City, Missouri, Bud moved to Salinas, CA as a young boy. He started studying piano at age 10 with Leonard Cooper, who’s family is written about in Steinbeck’s Travels with Charley. He attended Salinas High School & earned bachelor and master degrees in electrical engineering from UC Berkeley. Bud & his wife Florence, who died last year, were married 62 years. They met at UC Berkeley when she sang songs in a college musical that Bud wrote & played. Their wedding was at the Claremont Hotel & they lived and raised their family in Los Altos. They are survived by daughters Pamela & Kathryn, son Mathew, his wife Kimberly & their children Daniel & Casey. Bud was lured into the field of microwaves & traveling-wave tubes (TWTs) by the writings of John Pierce of Bell Labs. He started his career at Varian Associates in 1956. He knew Sig & Russ Varian, who invented the klystron microwave tube; & Ed Ginzton, who developed the two mile linear accelerator at Stanford. Bud reminisced that the Varian brothers founded Varian to provide a working environment for creative scientists, not to make money.

He recalled walking across a cow pasture with the Varian brothers to get to their office in Palo Alto. In 1967 Bud went to work for MEC (Microwave Electronic Corporation) that later became Teledyne MEC, which Bud became president of in 1984. He participated in the development of TWTs & buildup of the High-Powered TWT Division, from its start to a successful business employing more than a thousand people. They later built a manufacturing plant near Sacramento, which is still a leader in TWT production. The profits were used to start a microwave transistor and integrated circuit (MMIC) business, still successfully operating in Mountain View today. At age 40, Bud taught himself to play Jazz piano. He continued weekly music jams with friends up till a couple months ago. He was a voracious reader. A snapshot of his bedside books includes subjects as varied as physics, philosophy, music, health, history, humor. In an age of disposable everything, Bud loved to fix & build, like the beautiful redwood deck he cut & built by hand in the family’s backyard, or the vintage stereo speakers he rewired. Bud & Flo had life-long friends with whom they traveled & celebrated family occasions & holidays. The son of Bud’s best friend from college called theirs a “for-the-ages friendship”. Sailing was a favorite hobby. Bud sailed many times in the SF Bay, as well as memorable trips with good friends around Baja, California & off the coast of Scotland. Bud was a devoted father & took great joy in his children’s & grandchildren’s accomplishments & adventures. He loved that his grandchildren were starting music lessons. Supporting the arts, the environment & economic equality were important to Bud & on his mind even in his last days. He listened & gave to KCSM, the bay area’s Jazz music station. He defended the underdog. Loved ones remember Bud as kind, humble, a man of integrity, smart, with a droll and quick wit, a mensch! He will be deeply missed.

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