Note: Originally published in The Vineyard Gazette edition of Friday, January 16th 2004 http://www.mvgazette.com/features/obituaries/index.php?name=oswald_g_villard_jr&edition_date=2004/01/16&format=print Oswald Garrison (Mike) Villard Jr. died quietly on Jan. 7 as the result of illness. Mike, as he was known to friends since his college days at Yale, grew up in New York city and Dobbs Ferry, N.Y. He received his bachelor's degree in English literature from Yale. He met his wife-to-be, Barbara (Bobbie) Slater Letts, at a Mills College dance where, for him, it was love at first sight. The newlyweds first lived in Palo Alto, Calif., where Mr. Villard pursued his lifelong interest in radios as a graduate student at Stanford University under the renowned electrical engineer Dr. Fred Terman, and moved to Harvard, Mass., while Mr. Villard worked with Terman at the Harvard Radio Research Lab in the early 1940s. The Villards then moved back to Palo Alto, where he continued his studies and research. He began as an associate professor at Stanford in 1938, contingent on the completion of his Ph.D., which he received in 1949. His graduation was, of course, delayed by the war. In order to keep in touch with family in the East, Mr. Villard took his family each summer to Chappaquiddick, where his brother, Henry, owned a summer house. Mike and Bobbie began as renters around 1954 on Chappy and later became land owners. They developed many good friends there. While at the Vineyard, Mr. Villard kept up his workaholic ways by doing special projects at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. In 1960 Mike and Bobbie moved the family into the country in Woodside, Calif., where they lived until their late years. After first moving to Woodside, Mr. Villard and son Tom rescued a family of baby owls from a water tower about to be torn down, and the family became known in the area as the "owl people." They successfully rescued and raised a number of owls with the help of a veterinarian in Palo Alto. Mr. Villard was graduated from Yale in 1938, an English literature major. At Yale he made Phi Beta Kappa and was voted into the Elizabethan Society. He won a $50 prize in an English contest, and, baffling everyone, went out and bought electrical engineering textbooks. He realized that in his heart he really wanted to be a radio engineer, having had this as a hobby from the time he received his first radio as a gift in 1928 and built one from a kit the following year. Even while an English major at Yale, he started a second radio club at the university. He finally decided to break family tradition and attend graduate school in electrical engineering at Stanford University. Mr. Villard received a graduate assistantship at Stanford University and completed his Ph.D. He then began laboratory research and mathematical analysis leading to major advances in signal generation of the single sideband (SSB) radios. He and others at Stanford joined with a small group of business executives in 1946 to create Stanford Research Institute (now SRI International), where much of his research was based until late in his life. He was a noted professor of electrical engineering at Stanford University as well as a graduate advisor for years. He was noted for his interest in ham radios and was a longtime trustee for the Stanford University Radio Club, W6XY. His research and work led to major advances in preventing the jamming of radio signals. This simple antenna technique is still published in print media as well as on the Internet. Mr. Villard, a leader in electromagnetic theory and experimental methods, pioneered the concept and development of a large program to design and build over-the-horizon radars for detecting bombers and high-altitude missiles, starting with SRI's Wide Aperture Research Facility. In addition, he conducted early experiments demonstrating feasibility of the stealth aircraft concept by using specially treated low-impedance surfaces and developed advanced techniques for canceling target return signals from radar and sonar that resulted in reducing aircraft and submarine detection. For this work he received the Department of Defense Medal of Honor - its highest civilian award - and was elected to the National Academies of Science and Engineering. He was also made a fellow at SRI, its highest employee honor. Mr. Villard was honored with many distinguished awards of achievement and fellowships during his lifetime, including: Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Fellowship, 1957; American Association for the Advancement of Science Fellowship, 1960; American Geophysical Union Fellow, 1962; SRI Fellows, 1988; and many more. He was a frequently published and quoted author in his field. He led a rich, full life with his work and children, and was a caring, devoted husband. He was preceded in death by his wife of more than 50 years, Barbara Letts Villard, and many family members including his sister, Dorothea Villard Hammond, brother Henry H. Villard, professor and noted economist, and cousin Harry Serrano Villard, author, ambassador and officer of the Dept. of Foreign Service. He is survived by his children, Thomas Houghton Villard of California, Barbara Suzanne Villard of Arizona, and John Sandford Villard of Massachusetts. He has three grandchildren, Marie, Dominique and Owen. Service arrangements are private. Memorial gifts may be made to the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. ====================== NYT Obituary http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9D07E5DA1F3BF93BA35751C0A9629C8B63 ...Oswald Jr. became interested in electricity as a boy after being given ''Harper's Electricity Book for Boys,'' which he kept for the rest of his life. When he was about 12, the family chauffeur gave him a radio put together from a kit, Dr. Villard said in an oral history prepared by Rutgers University. He went to high school at the Hotchkiss School in Lakeville, Conn., and then to Yale, where he founded a radio club. He entered Stanford as a graduate student in electrical engineering. As a student Dr. Villard worked with David Packard and William Hewlett, among other electronics pioneers, to develop the klystron tube, the basis of radar. In World War II at the Radio Research Laboratory at Harvard, Dr. Villard worked on pioneering studies of radar jamming. He returned to Stanford after the war and in 1947 designed a simplified voice transmitter permitting two-way communication on a single radio channel, like a telephone conversation. He earned his doctorate from Stanford in 1949. ...Dr. Villard, an electronics engineer, parlayed his youthful interest in radio into advanced research with military and other uses, including ''stealth'' technology to stop radar from bouncing back from aircraft, so planes are nearly invisible to it. His greatest contribution was leading research that vastly expanded the range of high-frequency radar signals by bouncing them off the ionosphere, an electrically charged layer about 50 miles above the earth's surface. The result was that radar could peer around the earth's curvature to detect aircraft and missiles thousands of miles away. Dr. Villard was a professor at Stanford University for five decades. In 1969, when Stanford ceased all classified work in response to antiwar protests, he moved his research group to Stanford Research Institute, now SRI International, in Menlo Park, Calif. ...In the 1980's, Dr. Villard designed an inconspicuous antenna that could wipe out signals that jammed communications, allowing people in many countries to receive Voice of America radio programs. The devices, which were small enough to be concealed in newspapers, were requested by many Chinese after the student uprising at Tiananmen Square in 1989.
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