Richard Eaton Llewellyn, 75, of Columbia, MD. passed away on June 6, 2021, after a courageous battle with pancreatic cancer.
Rick was born on January 18, 1946, to Frederick and Jane Llewellyn in Los Angeles, CA. After graduating from San Marino High School in 1964, he went on to study engineering at Harvey Mudd College in Claremont, CA.
Rick moved east after graduation and began his first job for Westinghouse Corporation in Linthicum, MD. It was purchased by Northrup Grumman in 1996. He continued working there for his entire career of more than 30 years.
He began doing digital design during the early days of computer technology in the 1970’s with Westinghouse's Electrical Design organization. Rick was an innovative thinker who contributed to the design of computer hardware for the AWACS radar system and led the development of the first fully programmable airborne processors for the Electronically Agile Radar (EAR), the F-16 fighter, and B-1B bomber. Generations of computing systems flying today can trace their heritage back to Rick’s original concepts.
Following his work in Electrical Design, Rick led a group of engineers in the development of Aided Target Recognition (ATR) systems which used machine learning and other computing techniques to automatically locate and identify vehicles in radar and infrared camera images. He also pioneered work in fusing targeting results from both radar and infrared images in programs such as the Multi-Sensor Aided Targeting (MSAT) system. A true entrepreneur, Rick served as both technical advisor and proposal/program manager for many of these efforts. (Today, ATR is a technology that allows autonomous cars to recognize pedestrians, bicycles and speed limit signs). Rick was a mentor and friend to the many engineers who crossed his path during his long career. He is remembered by them as “innovative, and always smiling and/or laughing…he was a coach, cheer-leader, problem solver, referee and Chief Expert.”
In 1973 he met Julia Wagner, and they wed in 1975. During the nearly 48 years they were a couple their relationship was full of love and adventure, and they were truly “soul-mates”.
After retiring in 2000, Rick and Julia traveled extensively. A lot of their travels focused on a fascination with nature. Adventures included swimming with humpback whales in Tonga, hiking in Uganda to see mountain gorillas, and climbing a cliff in Tristan da Cunha to see the Northern Rockhopper which completed their dream of seeing all 19 species of penguins in the wild. Rick always wanted to see an aardvark-the first animal in the dictionary-and he did. He videoed and photographed countless other animal species and birds including rare animals like pangolins & tigers. Seeking out interesting food and wine was always an integral part of their travels and of their daily lives. They visited all 7 continents multiple times, and over 160 countries, but their favorite place on the planet remained Yellowstone National Park. When not traveling, summers were spent fly fishing in Montana, and hiking around Yellowstone.
Rick’s retirement “gig” revolved around videography, generating videos of the places visited. These videos can be viewed at: YouTube.com/rick4ls. HIs favorites were “The Great Migration”, “The Mating Dance” and of course his Yellowstone videos-one about his favorites and the other about winter survival.
In addition to his wife, Rick is also lovingly remembered and survived by his brother, John Llewellyn and wife Carol, of Pasadena, CA, sister, Ann Evans and husband Andy, of Knapp Island, Canada, sister-in-law and husband, Donna and Ernesto Molinari of Bern, Switzerland, brother-in-law and wife, Michael Wagner and Liz Kartiganer of Asheville, NC, as well as many adoring nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by his parents, Fredrick and Jane Llewellyn.
A memorial celebration of his life will be planned in the future. Memorial tributes can be made to Yellowstone Forever (yellowstone.org) or Pancreatic Action Network (pancan.org). Watching Rick’s videos at YouTube.com/rick4ls will allow you to share in the life and travels of this amazing man who will be missed greatly by all who knew him.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Richard Eaton Llewellyn, please visit our floral store.