Del Caldwell devoted his career to calibration and metrology.
Del Caldwell, past president of NCSL International, passed away on September 25, 2013. Though I didn't know Del personally, I knew his name because he was prominent in the calibration/metrology community. The following is the eulogy at Del's funeral, given by and with permission from Jerry Hayes.
Del and I worked together for at least 50 years.
When I was technical director of the Navy’s Metrology Engineering Center (MEC) in the 60s, I hired him from a company called Metron, which was providing training for us of Navy calibration technicians. He taught electronic calibration methods. He was very effective there and we needed his skills.
He was our go-to microwave engineer; smart, quick, affable, worked well with peers.
We were responsible for the Navy Calibration Program, which we had created in the late-1950s.
The program encompassed all elements of the navy including the Marine Corps. We were undermanned and had our hands full during the cold war and the scramble created by the Soviet Union’s Sputnik device as the USA was looking to outperform it.
Del’s capabilities were sorely needed then.
That required supporting increasingly difficult measurements of all known phenomenon being measured by the Navy and its multiple contractors.
Del’s engineering skills and creativity were essential to that effort.
He was instrumental in the development of advanced microwave hardware and calibration processes that fulfilled difficult measurement solutions, working closely with experts at the National Bureau of Standards in Boulder, Colorado.
As it became obvious that he was very competent and creative, he proved to be of greater value to a broader segment of the Navy Calibration Program and got involved in supervision and policy development.
I assigned him to manage various departments of MEC to broaden his perspective and he performed with dedication and excellence making key improvements.
We became increasingly dependent on him for analysis of problems and complex situations.
As Mike Luwe of MEC and the measurement science department at corona noted recently, as a consultant, he provided brilliant pros and cons, from which good, rational decisions could be made. he never second guessed the resulting decisions. He just provided good dependable advice.
Another metrologist, Bill McCullough, emailed me this: "I am crushed. Del was a friend, advisor, leader, benefactor, writing partner and someone always there to bounce ideas off of. I am not concerned about del i am sure he has the afterlife covered. I am more concerned about us. We will truly miss his guidance."
Mike golden of Lockheed martin emailed me commenting that "Del was one of the most giving, friendly, knowledgeable, respectful and respectable metrologists and persons that he ever had the pleasure to know, both in and out of our field. He will be truly missed."
Jim Wachter, contractor at NASA in Florida tweeted on Facebook, "Today, we lost a giant in the metrology and calibration community--a leader, a mentor and a friend. Rest in peace Del Caldwell, you’ve given so much to us all."
Del performed like this for the entire national metrology community. He was instrumental in developing and revising the documentary standards that established requirements to advance the quality and reliability of measuring instruments.
Del retired and became a consultant. I was also consulting and we became close colleagues again about then. We worked on many technical projects together as well as new concepts for the navy’s measurement science department at corona which was MEC’s successor organization. He was invaluable to its leaders and engineers.
He developed several engineering documents and policy papers and requirement standards that have revolutionized the operation of calibration facilities: Navy, NASA, DoD, and hundreds of companies and contractors alike.
He has become recognized by more than a hundred individuals and companies that respect his brilliance in developing and leading in a respectful and humble way the preparation and release of numerous guidance documents and national requrement standards in the field of metrology.
To say he will be missed is a gross understatement.
Del's legacy will live on as it will continue to influence organizations and individuals across this nation as well as other countries.
We have been so very fortunate to have had him with us as a friend, colleague, and loved one.
He was a humble, patient, devoted servant to us all.
Farewell friend... thanks for everything... until we meet again.