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David Lockhart Windes


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David Lockhart Windes Obituary
David Lockhart Windes
April 27, 1940 ~ December 18, 2016

David Windes,76, of Manhattan Beach, California, passed away peacefully at home on December 18, 2016. Dave was born in Washington D.C. to Margery and Stephen Windes on April 27, 1940.

Dave grew up in Silver Spring, Maryland and attended Montgomery Blair High School. He enjoyed spending summer vacations at Crystal Lake in Frankfort, Michigan with his parents and brothers Tom and Doug.

Dave's interest in the space program began when he was delivering newspapers on his bicycle in 1957 and saw Sputnik fly overhead!

In 1958, Dave attended Bucknell University in Lewisburg, Pa. Dave was a member of the Theta Chi fraternity, editor of The Bucknell Engineering magazine, and had his own radio show at WVBU "The Voice of the Buffalo Valley". He ran cross-country, was on the soccer team, and pitched on the softball team when they won the championship game. Dave was elected to the honorary societies of Tau Beta Pi and Omicron Delta Kappa. In the summer of 1961, Dave worked at Patrick AFB in Cape Canaveral and was inspired by the suborbital space technology he witnessed as the Atlas was being flown. Dave graduated from Bucknell in 1962 with a B.S in Electrical Engineering.

After graduation, Dave started working at Hughes Aircraft in Culver City and while working there earned his Master's in Electrical Engineering from USC (1964). Dave was assigned to the Surveyor Spacecraft program and worked on it from 1962-1969.

Dave worked on the engineering model of the Surveyor Spacecraft television camera with Sam Flateau. Hughes Aircraft was building the world's first spacecraft designed to soft land on the Moon and take pictures. Dave worked on the television subsystem and the flight control subsystem in system test, at the launch site (on the Atlas Centaur), and during the landing at JPL. Dave became best friends with Joe Castaldo, who worked on the ground equipment for the Surveyor television feed. Dave is proud that his fingerprints are on the moon and that he was the first person to see "Rock A", when it was transmitted to JPL! Hughes launched 7 spacecrafts and all the odd numbered ones made it, including the first one. Dave worked on them all.

In 1985, General Motors bought Hughes Aircraft and Dave's career evolved from system engineering the communications payloads of satellites to the design, development, and launch of government advanced state-of-the-art satellites and their ground stations. Dave's work at Hughes included assignments as Systems Engineering Manager of satellite programs and Deputy Program Manager of TDRS HIJ, NASA GSFC, and classified programs.

Dave developed a passion for bike touring and logged over 10,000 miles traveling the west coast from Vancouver to Mexico and many other areas in the United States.


Golfing, biking, and tennis were weekly activities that Dave loved to share with family and friends.

Dave also enjoyed outdoor activities with friends and family and one of the highlights was helicopter skiing in the Canadian Rockies. In 1969, Joe Castaldo and Dave designed and built a vacation home in Mammoth Mountain. Dave and the family spent many vacations with the Castaldo family water skiing, wind surfing, camping, and snow skiing. Dave developed a passion for kayaking and many vacations were spent kayaking the Kern River with Andy Bavetta. A vacation highlight was an ocean kayaking trip with his soon-to-be-wife Tracey around the San Juan Islands in Washington.

Dave was a devoted "Pop" to Ann and Lisa and enjoyed playing with his two grandchildren, Sierra and Orion. He was excited to teach his daughters to ski, ride bikes, kayak, and enjoy spending time in the outdoors.

The family adventures included trips to Europe, Australia, and vacations in Sun Valley at the home of his in-laws Myrna and Bob Fletcher.

Dave loved his life on Carriage Place playing games and building "things", including the 'Dream Machine', with his daughters and all seven of the Sofen family children. Dave was passionate about giving back to the community and was a volunteer for: AARP tax preparation, Habitat for Humanity, The Wellness Community, The Tall Ships program, The Manhattan Beach Community Church (Financial Secretary), and the 1736 Family Crisis Center.

Ann remembers, "When I was little Pop would point up at a satellite passing by and say that his fingerprints were on it! It was kind of magical to hear that as a kid."

Lisa remembers, "Pop was well liked for his curiosity, passion for explaining how the world works, his sense of humor, and his adventurous spirit. The family fondly recalls Pop's love of a good 'dessert platter' - collecting all the desserts available at an event, so that he could sample and enjoy each and every one (thank you Ginny Sofen & Myrna Fletcher)!"

Tracey remembers, "Dave was my soul mate, my rocket man, and my fellow adventurer. His love of life was contagious and he never missed an opportunity to have fun."

A colleague said, "Dave was one of the good guys – someone others could count on to get things done. He did it with no fanfare and likely little or no thanks. He just did it because it needed doing."

Dave is survived by his wife, Tracey Windes; daughters, Ann Rivera and Lisa Windes; son-in-law, Sam Rivera; grandchildren, Sierra and Orion Rivera; mother-in-law, Myrna Fletcher; nieces, Crystal Reid, Venessa Hurka, Margaret Windes and Allison Windes; nephews, Daniel Fletcher, Todd Windes and Connor Windes; brothers, Tom Windes and Doug Windes; brother-in-law, Larry Britton; sister-in-law's; Nancy Windes, Mary Jo Windes, Linnea Fletcher, Candy Fletcher, and numerous friends and relatives.

A celebration of life will be held for Dave on April 29, 2017 in Southold, New York. Please contact Tracey Windes if you plan to attend.
Published in The Beach Reporter on Jan. 26, 2017
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