Forrest Judkins, 90

Electrical engineer

January 19, 2007

Forrest Hamilton Judkins, a retired electrical engineer who had been vice president of a South Baltimore insulator plant and had worked in atomic bomb production, died of congestive heart failure related to Parkinson's disease Jan. 12 at St. Joseph Medical Center. The Towson resident was 90.

Born in Windham, Conn., he built his own television set in 1933 and picked up signals from two television transmitters that were in operation just two hours per week.

Mr. Judkins earned his undergraduate and master's degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he played first clarinet in the school band and was crew team coxswain.

He began work with a General Electric plant in Pittsfield, Mass., where he earned his first of many patents for the company. During World War II, he was a second lieutenant in the Army's Coast Artillery Corps. He was lent by GE to the war effort, working on the Manhattan Project on Long Island and helping develop the power package to split the atom.

He later worked in the Navy's Destroyer and Submarine Corps in sonar and demagnetizing military craft to reduce exposure to an enemy.

In the 1950s, he was transferred to GE's Locke Insulators division in South Baltimore. He worked in research and development, engineering, production and human resources before becoming vice president. Before retiring in 1974, he helped transfer its ownership in a joint venture with NGK of Japan.

He then ran Hamilton Engineering Consulting Services from a shop in his home.

Mr. Judkins was a past national president of GE's Elfun Society, a charitable organization.

He enjoyed fishing and target and skeet shooting at the Dug Hill Rod and Gun Club on the Carroll-Baltimore County border, and spent summers at Lake Winnipesaukee, N.H., and in Ocean City.

Services were held Tuesday in Towson.

Survivors include his wife, the former Lila Backman O'Meara; a nephew, Roger B. Judkins of Roanoke, Texas; a cousin, Margaret Taylor of Enderby, British Columbia; and seven step-grandchildren.

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