Memorial Tribute to Louis F. Kazda

Louis Frank Kazda, who was for many years a professor of Electrical Engineering in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, passed away peacefully at his home in Las Cruces, New Mexico on January 15, 2006.

Professor Kazda was born in Dayton, Ohio in 1916 and graduated from Stiverson High School in 1934. He received a B.S. degree in Electrical Engineering in 1940 and an M.S. degree in Electrical Engineering in 1943, both from the University of Cincinnati. He earned his Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from Syracuse University in 1962. Professor Kazda joined the faculty of the University of Michigan as an instructor in 1947. He became an Assistant Professor in 1951, was promoted to Associate Professor in 1957, and achieved the rank of full Professor in 1960.

During WWII (1943-1945), Professor Kazda worked in the Research Laboratory of the Eclipse-Pioneer Division of the Bendix Corporation in New Jersey, studying what was then a new theoretical area, servomechanisms, and their application in the development of control systems for military aircraft and radar. He became interested in the underlying theory and decided to specialize in this area. He then worked briefly as Chief Engineer at the J.W. Newton Laboratories of New York City and Cape Charles, Virginia, before coming to Ann Arbor.

During his early years at the University of Michigan, Professor Kazda worked closely with Professor J.S. Gault, author of books on a-c machinery and an expert in machines and industrial control systems. Together they developed two graduate courses in the control systems area. Professor Kazda also worked at U-M's Willow Run research facility, and participated in research that contributed to the department's development of a major graduate program in the control and communication systems area. Professor Kazda later turned his attention to energy systems, and served as Director of the Power Systems and Energy Conversion Laboratory during the period 1975 to 1980.

Professor Kazda graduated twenty-two Ph.D. students during his time at Michigan. He published in major technical journals, attended numerous technical conferences, and received a number of professional honors, including the IEEE Centennial Medal and Certificate in 1984 in recognition of his exceptional service to the profession. He was a Fellow of the IEEE.

Following his retirement from U-M in 1985, he and his wife, Jane, moved to Las Cruces, New Mexico, where he continued to inspire students, teaching for many years at New Mexico State University. Professor Kazda is survived by two of his daughters - Sally Stites of Norman, Oklahoma, and Joan Kazda of Las Cruces, New Mexico; and by four grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren. His wife Jane, and his third daughter, Judith Ann, both predeceased him.

The Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science offers its sincere condolences to the family and friends of Louis Kazda and expresses its gratitude for his many years of dedication and service to his students, colleagues and the University. He was a dedicated and thoughtful individual whose contributions will be appreciated for many years to come.