October 23, 1923 ~ June 12, 2019
Howard Lester Caterson, 95, of Palos Verdes Estates, died at his home on June 12, 2019. He was born October 23, 1923, in Philadelphia, PA, to Albert and Elizabeth Caterson. Howard’s one sibling, Edgar, was born in 1929.
At age 7, Howard received a complete set of The Book of Knowledge encyclopedia. The set didn’t come with any particular instructions, so he proceeded to read the entire 20-volume set and thus began a lifelong habit of being a voracious reader. It should also come as no surprise to those who knew Howard that he worked his way up to becoming an Eagle Scout. He played the trumpet in school and Boy Scouts, and, growing up in Philadelphia, also loved playing ice hockey and going to local hockey games.
Howard began his college career at Drexel University, studying chemical engineering. He joined the Sigma Delta Kappa fraternity and the ROTC. Members of the ROTC were told that if they volunteered for the Army, they would be sent to officers’ training school, but, instead, in 1944, the U.S. Army sent Howard to Washington University in St. Louis, as part of the Army’s Electrical Engineer Training Program.
In St. Louis, he met Margie Schrader, who was studying Home Economics at MacMurray College for Women in nearby Jacksonville, Illinois. Two years later, on June 29, 1946, they were married, shortly after Howard completed his bachelor’s in electrical engineering from Washington University. Howard and Margie then spent two years in Cambridge, Massachusetts, while he earned an MBA from M.I.T.’s Sloan School of Management. Upon graduation, Howard accepted a position with Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company, in Akron, Ohio. He later headed up the project to open Goodyear’s atomic energy plant in Portsmouth, Ohio. All five of their children- Cecille, Denise, Suzanne, Russell and Karl -- were born during the 9-year period that Howard worked for Goodyear. Moving up, in 1957, Howard landed a position as a management consultant with Booz, Allen & Hamilton in Cleveland, Ohio.
After visiting the Seattle World’s Fair and the coast of California in 1962, the couple began dreaming of one day moving to the west coast. In August 1964, Booz Allen sent Howard to San Diego on a 5-month assignment, and the whole family went along. In December 1964, their dream came true, when Howard was asked to transfer permanently to the company’s Los Angeles office.
After moving to Palos Verdes in 1965, the family built and moved into their present residence in 1968. Also in 1968, Howard began his 20-year career with TRW, Inc. He started as Manager of Manufacturing Services, then moved up to Director of Planning & Development. Later, he was made Vice President of Planning & Technology for TRW’s Electronic Components Group. By the time Howard retired in 1988, he had been promoted to being the group’s Vice President of International Development.
His career took him to every corner of the globe, and, after the kids were grown, Margie became his frequent traveling companion. After Howard’s retirement, they continued their travels abroad, visiting all of Europe, as well as New Zealand, Australia, and Asia. In addition to travelling, Howard loved reading, Japanese art and culture, walking 2 miles a day (which he kept up until his late 80s), studying Italian, and Margie’s cooking.
He is survived by his wife of 73 years, all five of their children, his brother, and 8 grandchildren.
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