Obituaries

Norman Hugh Pond

NormanPond online1938 - 2020

Norman H. Pond passed away peacefully on September 30th, 2020 in Los Altos Hills, California surrounded by his family.  He is survived by his wife Natalie Pond; his three children, Stephen Pond (Ann), Michael Pond (Susan), and Kelly Green (Terry); and five grandchildren, Mia, Mike, Perri, Sierra, and Jackson. 

Born August 23rd, 1938, in West Plains, Missouri, Norm was raised on an Ozarks’ dairy farm.  He attended a one-room country school house in rural Howell county where is his Mother was the teacher.  An agricultural exchange student from New Zealand visited the Pond farm when Norm was young, and that exposure to another culture and nationality was partially responsible for a life-long passion for adventure and exploration that included extensive travel, friendships, and visits to all seven continents with his wife, Natalie.

A farm requires lots of work, and many times improvisation, to keep it operating. Norm was well suited for this as he liked to “just be given a problem to solve” and he would be content.  He became an Eagle Scout, before attending the University of Missouri, graduating with a degree in Physics, and eschewing a career in agriculture.  He went on to earn an MS in physics from the University of California at Los Angeles after marrying his high school sweetheart, Natalie Bottom, of West Plains. They celebrated their 62nd wedding anniversary this past June, never going too fast, but going very far together.

Arriving in California in 1960, Norm and Natalie made Los Altos their permanent home beginning in 1963.  California provided a variety of outdoor activities that had never been part of their lives growing up: tennis, snow skiing, and sailing, all of which they learned and pursued vigorously.  They became life-long friends with four other couples, all of whom had young families and were simultaneously new to California as well.  Those friendships endured and included many excursions together, including backpacking the Sierras, camping trips through-out the state, ski vacations, white water rafting, and sailing adventures. 

Norm loved sailing, initially learning on San Francisco Bay.  A major voyage through Mexico, Central America and the Panama Canal allowed their first sailboat, Déjà Vu, to reside in the Caribbean for several years.  Subsequently, the sailboat Tantara was kept in the San Juan Islands, where numerous family members enjoyed the Pacific Northwest and Gulf Islands of Canada. Working on his sailboats allowed endless tinkering, repairs, and upgrades to the vessels, which he cherished as much as running downwind to the next port or berth.

Norm Pond founded Intevac in 1991 as a spin-out from Varian Associates, taking the company public in 1995.  He served as chairman of the board until his retirement in 2017. He was Intevac’s chief executive officer from 1991 until 2000, as well as during 2001-2002 and 2012-2013.  Intevac Chairman David S. Dury said of his passing, "Norm was a remarkable entrepreneur and a true visionary in the industry. He was a pioneer in developing the night-vision technologies that have become the standard for most all digital night vision programs for the U.S. Military as well as many foreign nations. His pioneering work in magnetic media sputtering spawned the processing technology and the equipment that produces the majority of hard drive disks sold in the world today. Norm is survived by his wife Natalie, three children and five grandchildren, all of whom are in our thoughts and prayers as we sadly say goodbye to a man of impact, who will be greatly missed."

Prior to founding Intevac, Norm served as the president of Varian Associates and previously was a group executive at Teledyne.  Norm served on the boards of Varian Associates, Ebara Technology, the Electronic Industries Association, and IDEMA, the leading organization in the disk drive industry. Norm also organized and led the advisory group on electron devices for the Department of Defense. He is the author of The Tube Guys (2008), the first book on the history of microwave tubes, and how their impact has been essential to our nation’s defense.

Norm loved problem solving, hard work, and challenges of all types.  He was an adventurous spirit, and always supported his children’s and grandchildren’s aspirations.

The family is grateful for the kindness and services the staff of Mission Hospice provided in their care of Norm.

Norm will be laid to rest at Alta Mesa Memorial Park in Palo Alto later this month at a small service attended by close family members.

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