September 16, 1918 ~ June 4, 2006
Colonel Edward F. Blum
Colonel Edward Francis Blum, 87, of Rancho Palos Verdes, CA, passed away peacefully on June 4, 2006 after a long battle with Alzheimer's disease.
He was born on September 16, 1918 in Rochester N.Y. and graduated from Rochester Institute of Technology in 1939 with a degree in mechanical engineering. He was selected in April 1941 to participate in the aviation Cadet Training Program and received his commission as a second lieutenant in the Army Air Forces in December 1941. During World War II, he flew 30 bombing missions over Europe in B-17's and B-24's, as well as more than 700 hours on anti-submarine patrol. A the end of the war, he attended the Air Force Institute of Technology (AFIT) and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, where he served consecutively as project manager for the J-33 jet engine that powered the F-80 and F-94.
In 1957 Colonel Blum became Director of Astro Engineering for the Agena program. He was responsible for the engineering and development of the Research Missile (RM)-81 or Agena upper-stage vehicle, the first successful spacecraft designed to serve a wide variety of on-orbit programs, beginning with the world's first reconnaissance satellite. In 1962 he became director of the Agena D program and established the production line that turned out over 260 Agenas for use by Discoverer/Corona and other NRO programs, NASA's Lunar Orbiter and Mariner interplanetary probes, and other government projects.
After his retirement from active duty in 1965, Colonel Blum contributed to the Apollo program as a Lunar Descent Rocket engineer at TRW Systems. He later worked for Hughes Corporation on various Air Force, NASA, and commercial communications satellite programs.
In 2004, he was elected to the Air Force Space and Missile Pioneers Hall of Fame.
He is survived by his loving wife Lois, Sons: Edward Jr., Dennis Schramm, daughters: Donna Kemp, Joann Connolly and Cindy Rae Hoffman, 8 grandchildren and 7 great-grand children. He is also survived by his sister: Margaret Polley and brother: William, both of Rochester N.Y.
Viewing will be on Wednesday, June 7, 2006 from 4:00 P.M. until 8:00 P.M. at McCormick Redondo Beach Chapel with Rosary at 7:00 P.M. A Requiem Mass will be at St. John Fisher Church on Thursday, June 8, 2006 at 11:00 A.M. Interment will be at Arlington National Cemetery at a later date. The family asks that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the Alzheimer's Association or to the VFW.
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