Obituary: Nathen Porter Edwards, served at Pentagon during Cuban missile crisis
Nathen Porter Edwards died on May 26, 2016 at the age of 93 in Willow Street, PA surrounded by family. He is predeceased by his parents Elias Jackson Edwards and Eunice “Jessie” Telford Edwards, his sisters Lucy and Eunice and brother Ernie.
He is survived by his wife Doris Best and his sons Richard (wife Sharon) and Robert (wife Pam) and two grandchildren.
Nate was born in Cottage Grove, Oregon, grew up during the Great Depression and spent two years at the University of Oregon before joining the Navy shortly after Pearl Harbor. He served in the South Pacific as a Chief Radio Tech, became an officer and was discharged as a 2nd Lieutenant in 1946. After the war he graduated from Stanford University in 1949 with a bachelor’s and master’s degree in Electrical Engineering.
Nate’s 41 year electrical engineering career was spent at IBM. He worked with a team considered to be some of the pioneers of computers and he can be considered a pioneer himself. He was in the room when the term “byte” was coined and he managed the digital design of NORAD’s first air defense computer (SAGE), the physically largest computer ever built. In the 1960s he worked in the Pentagon, on loan from IBM, during the Cuban Missile Crisis and the assassination of President Kennedy. He held several Director level positions at IBM, performed research and is responsible for 22 technical papers and 14 patents.
Nate was involved in the community and church, serving as a Deacon and Elder at churches in Poughkeepsie, NY, Bethesda, and Darien, and sang in the choirs at all his churches. He was leader of the Scout Explorer Post in Poughkeepsie and was scout master for seven years in the troop in Darien. Residents of Darien for 41 years, he and his wife Doris moved to Willow Street, PA in 2007.
Memorial contributions may be made to:
• Mathias J. Brunner Nursing Education Fund, 600 Willow Valley Square, Lancaster, PA 17602
• Hospice & Community Care, 685 Good Dr., PO Box 4125, Lancaster, PA 17604
• University of Oregon Foundation, 1720 E 13th Ave., Suite 410, Eugene, OR 97403
A Memorial Service will be held Friday July 8, 2016 at 10:30 a.m. at the Chapel of Noroton Presbyterian Church, 2011 Post Road, Darien CT 06820. A reception and fellowship will follow at 11:45 a.m. in the Skylight Lobby. Interment with Military Honors will be Saturday, July 9, 2016 at 11 a.m. at Oakwood Cemetery 50 101st. Street, Troy NY 12180. To leave an online condolence for the family please visit: