Jan M. Minkowski, professor, dies

February 08, 1991

A Mass of Christian burial for Jan M. Minkowski, a professor emeritus of electrical engineering at the Johns Hopkins University, will be offered at noon today at the Roman Catholic Cathedral of Mary Our Queen, 5200 N. Charles St.

Dr. Minkowski, who was 74, died of cancer Tuesday at his home on Colorado Avenue.

He joined the Hopkins faculty as a lecturer in 1961, became an associate professor in 1963 and a professor in 1981, and retired in 1987.

He came to Baltimore in 1952 to work at the Hopkins Radiation Laboratory. For two years before that, he worked in the research division of the Erie (Pa.) Resistor Corp.

He was born in Zurich, Switzerland. During World War I, his mother was an emissary to the Allies and his father fought the Russians.

Reared in Warsaw, Poland, he graduated from King Batory's Gymnasium and studied electrical engineering at the Warsaw Institute of Technology.

A reservist in the cavalry signal corps of the Polish army, he was mobilized as an officer during World War II.

He was captured by the Soviets but managed to escape, only to be recaptured.

He concealed his rank and was put to work in a labor camp. Later he was turned over to the German army. After he admitted his rank, he was kept in prisoner of war camps until 1945, when he was liberated in Bavaria by the U.S. Army.

He worked for a time for the YMCA in Germany, then returned to Switzerland where he was admitted to the Federal Institute of Technology and studied physics for four years.

He came to the United States and worked a year for the Institute for Theoretical Physics before taking the job in Erie.

He received his doctorate in 1963 at Hopkins.

From 1957 until 1970, he served on the electronic warfare committee of the U.S. Air Force. He was a consultant to other military services and industrial companies. He held seven patents and wrote more than 30 articles in professional journals.

He is survived by his wife, the former Anne Hastings Shreve; four sons, Andrew J. Minkowski of Virginia Beach, Dr. John S. Minkowski of Baltimore, Christopher Z. Minkowski of Ithaca, N.Y., and Mark H. Minkowski of Palo Alto, Calif.; and seven grandchildren.

The family suggested contributions to the Jan M. Minkowski Memorial Lecture Fund at the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering of the Johns Hopkins University.

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