November 15, 1932 ~ August 25, 2003
LEWIS STEPHEN PILCHER III
Lewis Stephen Pilcher III, a retired executive with Hughes Aircraft Company in Los Angeles, died on Monday, August 25, 2003. He was 70 years old.
The cause of death was an aortic aneurysm, according to the emergency room physician at Scripps-Memorial Hospital in Encinitas, California, where Mr. Pilcher was taken after collapsing suddenly at 4:00 p.m. at the Del Mar Race Track in San Diego.
Mr. Pilcher was born in Boston, Massachusetts, on November 15, 1932, the first of four children of Eleanor Bogart Pilcher and Dr. Lewis Steven Pilcher II of Newton, Massachusetts. He attended Milton Academy in Milton, Massachusetts, earning the Most Distinguished Student Award his senior year. He went on to earn two degrees in Physics, a B.A, from Middlebury in 1953, and a B.S. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1954. He continued to study Physics at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena from 1954 through 1959.
Mr. Pilcher began his career with Hughes Electronics Company in 1958 with a Howard Hughes Fellowship at Cal Tech, and he spent over 40 years at Hughes Electronics Company as a scientist and engineer. One of the pioneers in the development of this country's space program in the 1960's, he ultimately assumed the role of key player in the Hughes satellite communications programs. He became the chief engineer on the Intelsat IV program, part of the international, transoceanic satellite communications system which replaced the much slower transoceanic coaxial cables. After Intelsat IV, Mr. Pilcher became responsible for the development of new Hughes satellite communications programs. During his tenure, Hughes provided satellites for Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Luxembourg, Japan, Thailand, Malaysia and other countries. In Mr. Pilcher's last assignment at Hughes, he became the chief designer of the HS 702 satellite, the largest and most powerful commercial communications satellite yet manufactured and orbited. Over three billion dollars of this new satellite have been ordered, making a fitting capstone to an outstanding career.
In 1953, Mr. Pilcher married Jane Ellen Rudolph, and they had two children, Lewis Stephen Pilcher IV, born December 20, 1954, and Brian Frederick Pilcher, born August 23, 1956. In 1969, Mr. Pilcher married Suzanne Walker, and they had a son, John Walker Pilcher, born October 5, 1970.
Mr. Pilcher is remembered by all as a man devoted to his family and to his career. He divided his time between the east and west coasts, spending a part of every summer with extended family in Wellfleet, Massachusetts, in Cape Cod. He is survived by his three sons, Stephen, Brian, and John, his three grandchildren, Elijah Rudolph Pilcher, Finlay Ann Pilcher, and Nathaniel Stephen Pilcher, his mother, Eleanor Bogart Pilcher, his sister Nan Frymoyer, his brothers Dr. David Bogart Pilcher and Paul Skylar Pilcher, and a legion of nephews, nieces, cousins, friends and colleagues who will miss him sorely.
A Memorial Service will be held on Thursday, August 28th, at 3:00 p.m. at the White and Day Mortuary at 3215 Sepulveda Boulevard in Manhattan Beach, California. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Mr. Pilcher's memory to the I Have a Dream Foundation, c/o Eldo Vallecillos, I Have a Dream Foundation, Project 13, Murchison Street elementary, 1501 Murchison Street, Los Angeles, CA 90033.
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