OREGON STATE UNIVERSITY

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Passing of Corwin Alexander and Lee Jensen

Two highly respected former faculty members of the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and long-time residents of Corvallis passed away in 2012. Both were veterans of WWII. We thank them for their contributions to the department, to the university, to electrical engineering and for their service to the nation.

Gerald Alexander

G. Corwin Alexander, was born March 8, 1930 in Corvallis, and died Nov. 14, 2012 in Albany at 82 years of age. Corwin went to high school in Corvallis and received his bachelor’s degree from Oregon State College in 1951. Following college he went to Fukuoka, Japan where he served in the U.S. Air Force until 1954. It was there he met and married Teruko “Terry” Annette Yazawa. He earned his master’s degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1961 and his doctorate from the University of California at Berkeley in 1973.

His industrial and academic experience ranged from analysis of radio and radar systems, electromagnetics and antennas, through power systems, power electronics, and design and control of machines.

Gerald was recognized as an outstanding teacher in 1970 with the Oregon State College of Engineering Loyd Carter Teaching Award.

He joined the faculty of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Oregon State University in 1955 and consulted as a licensed professional engineer in the State of Oregon throughout his career. Some of his activities focused on parameter estimation of electrical machines operating under load, data acquisition systems, and instrumentation and high-frequency transients in power systems. He retired from Oregon State in 1995 after 40 years as a professor.

Although they had no children, Corwin was for many years a Boy Scout leader in Corvallis and enjoyed taking the boys on camping trips around Oregon. He was also an avid bridge player and organized a weekly ECE faculty duplicate bridge party for several years. He and Terry loved to travel and did so frequently over the years.

Corwin and Terry have generously supported an EECS Scholarship, the Gerald C. & Teruko A. Alexander Memorial Scholarship Endowment.

He is survived by his wife, Terry; a sister, Janet M. Howell of Valencia, Calif.; and a brother, Grayson T. Alexander of Spring Hill, Fla.

Lee Jensen photoLeland C. Jensen, was born December 8, 1922 in Hay Springs, Nebraska and died on May 31, 2012 at 89 years of age.

Lee’s family moved to Salem in 1937 where he graduated from high school in 1941. He worked for Boeing Airplane Co. in Seattle until he joined the Army Air Corps in 1943. He served as an airplane technician in Europe until 1946. Returning from war, he stayed with his family in Junction City until 1948 when he started at Grand View College in Des Moines, Iowa. He met Barbara Brandt the next year when her family asked him to give her a ride to Grand View where she would also be attending. They were married the following summer in Junction City.

Lee enrolled in Oregon State College in 1951 and graduated with honors in electrical engineering in 1954. He worked one year for Sandia Labs in Albuquerque, New Mexico, but then returned to Corvallis to accept a professorship at Oregon State. He earned his master’s degree in 1962 from the University of Illinois.

Lee did several research projects in instrumentation for utilities. One was to study corona noise from high voltage (HV) transmission lines.

Tom Plant (EECS emeritus faculty) fondly recalls going into the HV lab one day to find Lee with a microphone pointed up toward a 640,000 Volt power line in the lab. “He had rigged a water spray head up above the power line and was preparing to spray water down on the line to simulate rainfall so he could measure the acoustic noise generated by the resulting corona or arcing. I told him that didn't seem like such a great idea to me and exited the lab!” Plant said.

Lee was especially interested in new digital instruments coming out in the 1970s. He developed a class to teach how to have instruments communicate with each other using a new protocol called GPIB (General Purpose Instrument Buss).

Other projects included testing the density of electrical poles using ultrasound and a crab acoustics project to determine gender and possibly size of the crab by the clicking sounds that a Dungeness crab makes.

Lee also regularly taught night classes at Tektronix in Beaverton. He retired from Oregon State in 1987 after 32 years as a professor.

In his retirement, he and his wife, Barbara, grew apples they sold for many years to the OSU Food Service and at farmers markets. Many of the EECS faculty helped him plant the initial 800 trees on their orchard near Philomath.

Survivors include daughters Ellen Marmon and her husband, James, of Eugene, Kathryn of Tualatin, and Gayle of Portland; sons Paul and his wife, Gaynelle, of Camas, Wash., David and his wife, Laurie, of Philomath, and Mark and his wife, Nancy, of Oregon City; 11 grandchildren; four great-children; and one great-great-grandchild. Lee is also survived by his brother, Roger Jensen and his wife, Joanne, of Lake Oswego; and sister, Arlene Hertel of Salem.

Lee was preceded in death by his brother, Richard; and by Barbara, his wife of 60 years.