Dr. William H. McCumber,
It is with deep regret and sorrow that EagleRidge
Technologies, Inc., announces the death of co-founder and president Dr. William
Henry McCumber. Crystal Sloan, VP of EagleRidge Technologies, Inc., states, "He
was a world-class systems engineer and much-loved educator, and a dear friend.
He will be sorely missed by the many people whose lives he influenced."
Dr. McCumber, of Rockwood, Tennessee, 68, passed away
peacefully at 12:01 PM at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville,
Tennessee on Sunday, July 20, 2003 after a short illness.
Dr. McCumber, a Professor of Practice at the
Graduate School of
Management and Technology of the University of
Maryland University College of Adelphi, MD, has taught systems engineering
for decades. In addition to serving as president of
EagleRidge Technologies, Inc., of Rockwood,
he was a partner in TEAMS of Houston,
a consulting firm.
Dr. McCumber was one of the world's leading systems engineers and educators,
working in space, military, medical, solar, industrial, and agricultural
applications on five continents; he contributed to every Apollo mission through
the moon landing, to the Space Lab, and to the Space Shuttle.
From 1960 to 1969 he worked for Douglas Aircraft, as a flight control circuit
designer for the Skybolt air-launched ballistic missile, as a flight test
engineer at Eglin Air Force Base, as Apollo telemetry and systems integration
engineer at Cape Canaveral Space Center, and as an Apollo remote site real-time
Later at IBM Federal Systems, he earned two outstanding achievement awards, as
Program Manager of Systems Integration Engineering for IBM World Trade Asia, in
1988 and 1989, and was awarded the Systems Engineering Chair on IBM Federal
Systems Division Technical Staff from 1986 through 1988; he is retired from IBM
Federal Systems and Loral/Lockheed Martin.
A graduate of the University of Oklahoma in Electrical Engineering, he received
his graduate degrees in Industrial (Systems) Engineering from the University of
Alabama at Huntsville and the University of Houston, and had been a licensed
Professional Engineer in the states of Texas and Alabama.
A member of the International Council on Systems Engineering (INCOSE), he was
elected to the prestigious rank of Fellow in July 2000, “for contributions as a
quintessential industrial leader, especially in the education and training of
practicing systems engineers.” He is the former Chairman of the INCOSE
Principles Working Group, former Associate Editor and reviewer for Systems
Engineering, the Journal of INCOSE, and the author of many technical papers
and other works; his paper,
Educating Systems Engineers: Encouraging
Divergent Thinking, was named Best Paper in the Education and Research
category by INCOSE for 2002.
Dr. McCumber served as a radio engineer in the Air Force during the Korean War,
and later was engineer for the University of Oklahoma radio station. An athlete
as well as scholar, he played football in high school in both Balboa High School
in Panama and in Midland, TX, and briefly at the University of Oklahoma. A
former Panama resident, he was a member of the
Panama Canal Society of Florida. He
was also past President of the Huntsville Folk Music Society of Huntsville, AL,
and a gifted guitarist and folksinger.
He is survived by his six children and their mother, his
nine beloved grandchildren, and by his partner and close friend Crystal Sloan.
Services were held 2PM Wednesday, July 23, 2003 at Lakewood Baptist Church in
Huntsville, Alabama. He was buried with full military honors at Valley View
Memorial Gardens, Meridian Bottom Road, Meridianville, Alabama. In lieu of flowers, contributions
may be sent to his favorite
charity, the Southwest Point Chapter of the Daughters of the American
Revolution. Donations to that organization can be sent c/o Mrs. Mary Bell,
Founding Regent, 120 Hilltop Lane, Kingston, Tennessee 37763-7260.