Hugh Ernest Riordan

Hugh E. Riordan, an engineer who worked in the aerospace and automotive industries, and held more than 130 patents, applications and invention disclosures, died in West Bend on Thursday, June 12, 2008. He was 84.

A specialist in inertial guidance systems for missiles, his work included the electromechanical digital sensing system used in the SRAM missile; accelerometers and gyroscopes for artillery rockets; multiple components in use in the Navy’s Talos, Terrier and Tartar missiles; and the world’s first production electronic antiskid systems for cars and for air-braked trucks.

At Battelle Memorial Institute he did basic investigations on "Twindow" double-glazed windows used in airplanes, and was issued a patent on the sealing mechanism. While director of research and advanced engineering at Kelsey-Hayes Co. in Ann Arbor, Michigan, he was a recipient of the prestigious IR 100 Award for his "Kel-Stop" braking system. He had been called one of the top five research and development men in the country.

Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., Mr. Riordan held bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, N.Y., and was a World War II navy veteran.

A quiet, dignified man, he was a lifelong opera fan and music lover, a devoted amateur flutist and had a deep affection for dogs. He retired as director of engineering services from Mercury Marine, in Fond du Lac.

He is survived by his wife of 64 years, Ethel; his children, Eileen (Robert Kalinoski) of Baltimore Maryland; Brian (Shih-Yi Kuan) of Seattle; and Janet (Charles Sykes) of Mequon; two grandchildren, Jeffrey and Caroline; and three step-grandchildren, Sandolore, Jay, and Alexander.

A private funeral was held on Saturday, June 14.

Memorials to Washington County Food for Families will be gratefully accepted.