Obituaries : Melvin L. Packard, aerospace engineer

Melvin L. Packard, an aerospace electronics engineer who retired last year from Hughes Aircraft's Electro-Optical Systems in El Segundo, died Jan. 12 from complications due to a malignant brain tumor. He was 63.

Packard had been a programs manager at the Hughes division for the past 20 years. His widow, Rita Packard of Westlake Village, said Monday that Hughes had recently presented him with an honorary patent award in recognition of his many contributions to weapons-fire control systems. She said that work included assisting foreign governments in Europe, the Middle East and the Far East.

Packard also worked for Grumman Aerospace at Point Mugu from 1966 to 1975, where he played a key role in developing the radar system for the F-14 aircraft while there, Rita Packard said.

Born in Bethlehem, Pa., Packard earned a master's degree in electronic engineering from New York University and served in the Air Force during the Korean War before settling in this area. He had lived in the Conejo Valley for 25 years.

A member of the Westlake Yacht Club, Packard enjoyed fishing and boating and served in the past as a youth basketball coach.

He is survived by his wife of 39 years, Rita Packard; son and daughter-in-law Kenneth and Lisa Packard of Thousand Oaks; son and daughter-in-law Ronald and Susan Packard of Calabasas; son Glenn Packard of Scottsdale, Ariz; parents Melvin and Lena Packard of Bethlehem; brother and sister-in-law Leroy and Patricia Packard of Altoona, Pa.; and three granddaughters.

Visitation will be from 6 to 8 p.m. today at Pierce Brothers Valley Oaks Mortuary Chapel. Services will be at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday at Ascension Lutheran Church in Thousand Oaks. Donations may be made in his memory to the American Cancer Society.

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