James Sebring Sr.

[ Age 73 ] Engineer who worked on the Apollo space program loved to jitterbug

January 01, 2007|By Nia-Malika Henderson | Nia-Malika Henderson,SUN REPORTER

James Ray Sebring Sr., an engineer who designed radio communications hardware for the Apollo space program, died Dec. 22 of an infection at University of Maryland Medical Center. He was 73 and lived in Sparks.

Born in Cherry Tree, Pa., Mr. Sebring attended public schools and served in the Navy as a radioman from 1951 to 1955.

While studying for an undergraduate degree in electrical engineering at Pennsylvania State University, he met Anna Marie DeMay at a Sunday afternoon dance. After dating for two years, the couple married in 1959, two weeks after Mr. Sebring earned his bachelor's degree.

In 1960, they moved to Los Angeles, where Mr. Sebring worked at Douglas Aircraft. That year, the couple moved to Baltimore.

Mr. Sebring worked at Bendix Corp. in Towson, where he spent the bulk of his career as an engineer.

At Bendix, he helped develop the first microwave landing systems for commercial aircraft and worked on NASA's manned space program from 1960 to 1977. For the next decade, he worked in management at Bendix facilities in Iowa, Florida, New Jersey and Baltimore. From 1989 to 1991, he was vice president of engineering at Nurad Technologies, which manufactures antennas.

Mr. Sebring never officially retired, serving as an engineering consultant for the Navy for 15 years, assisting with communication systems between helicopters and surface ships.

His wife said he enjoyed his work, but he always found time for his other passions. "He loved to jitterbug, he loved to be with family, and he loved wines," she said.

Mrs. Sebring said that until recently, she and her husband would travel to Shrewsbury, Pa., to dance to big band music. Mr. Sebring also enjoyed playing bridge, golf and reading historical novels.

A memorial service was held Saturday.

In addition to his wife, survivors include a brother, Clair William Sebring II of Parkland, Fla.; two sons, Clair William Sebring III of Baltimore and James Ray Sebring Jr. of Oakland, Calif.; two daughters, Beth Ann Davis of Hawley, Pa., and Bonnie Sebring Frost of Baltimore; and seven grandchildren.

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