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Systems Community Mourns the Passing of Pioneer Eberhardt Rechtin

by INCOSE UMS | Apr 17, 2006

Eberhardt Rechtin, a pioneer in the fields of systems architecting and engineering, passed away Friday, April 14. He inspired many of us with his incisive genius, enthusiasm, and professionalism. His human qualities of caring and ethical behavior were equally impressive.
Dr. Rechtin was a de facto systems architect-engineer for more than 50 years before his death in April 2006. He began at JPL in 1948 where he became Mr. Phase Lock and then Mr. Deep Space Network as the former's theorist and the latter's architect-director for its first decade (1958-67). He then became DoD's Director and re-architect of the Advanced Research Projects Agency, principal deputy director of DDR&E and finally Ass't Sec. of Defense (Telecom) before leaving in 1973 to become chief engineer of Hewlett-Packard, specializing in LAN's and ultraquality. In 1977 he was chosen as the CEO and President of the Aerospace Corporation where he re-architected its role and culture around the concept of certification of readiness for launch of almost all national security space programs. Retiring as President-emeritus in 1987, the joined the University of Southern California as professor, a founder of its Systems Architecture and Engineering program and the author of one of the first systems architecting books. He retired as a professor-emeritus in 1994.
Dr. Rechtin's The Art of Systems Architecting, (with Mark Maier), CRC Press, second edition 2000, is widely recognized as a seminal work in the field of systems arhitecting. He also authored Systems Architecting of Organizations, CRC Press, 2000.
Dr. Rechtin, INCOSE Pioneer Awardee, was a Cal Tech graduate, a fellow of the AIAA, IEEE, and AAAS with major awards from the AIAA, IEEE, NASA, U.S. Navy, DoD, AFCEA, INCOSE, AAS, CalTech and the Japanese NEC C&C Foundation. He became a member of the NAE in 1968 at age 42. He was a chamber music violinist, an amateur photographer and hiker in the high Sierra. He was happily married to Deedee Denebrink Rechtin with four daughters and a son, all professionals and married.