Obituary: Gunther Sorger


Gunther Urban Sorger of Portola Valley, a pioneer in the development of microwave systems for air safety, died peacefully Feb. 10.

Mr. Sorger was born in Riedlingen, Germany, in 1925. In his youth he played soccer for the University of Stuttgart, scaled mountains with the Academic Ski Club, and soared over the Danube valleys in glider planes built by his glider flying club, say family members.

After earning a doctorate in physics, graduating cum laude, Mr. Sorger moved to the United States in 1954, joining Weinschel Engineering in Maryland as chief scientist, developing microwave test equipment and standards for airplane guidance systems. He also taught graduate courses in microwave measurement at George Washington University.

In 1970 he moved to California to work for the Eaton industrial company, where he founded the research and development center of the company's electronic instrumentation division in Sunnyvale. His contributions to the field included eight patents and many publications.

In 1985 he was elected a fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and later won its Meritorious Achievement Award for his work.

Mr. Sorger was an avid soccer player and coached AYSO soccer leagues for many years. He was also an excellent tennis player, winning several tournaments and playing well into his 70s, family members said. He was a certified board sailor and enjoyed hiking in the Sierras.

Surviving members of his family are his wife of 54 years, Ursula, and sons Alex, Phil and Stephan.

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Like this comment
Posted by Stephan Sorger
a resident of Portola Valley: Ladera
on Mar 2, 2010 at 11:04 pm

Dr. Sorger was my father. He was also a great man and a born leader. We miss him very much.

Like this comment
Posted by Marie
a resident of Portola Valley: Ladera
on Mar 14, 2010 at 10:08 pm

Gunther was a great guy and so typical of a solid Ladera resident. My condolences to the boys and Ursula.

Like this comment
Posted by Kevin Krizman
a resident of another community
on Jul 28, 2010 at 7:48 pm

I never knew Dr. Sorger personally. I only heard about him through a couple of his professional colleagues, and I have a few pages of his lecture notes still in my files. Based on the stories I heard and his notes I have read, he was a wonderful colleague, a brilliant engineer, and a great teacher. He was able to make very complex subjects easy to understand--a real sign of brilliance--and he made life a pleasure for those around him.

It always amazes me how much a complete stranger can touch your life; the fact that someone that Dr. Sorger never even knew is better off because of Dr. Sorger's life is a testament to his greatness. My condolences to his family.

Like this comment
Posted by James Vait
a resident of another community
on Dec 13, 2012 at 3:47 pm

I was a river guide on the Klamath River in the 1980s. Dr. Sorger and his two sons were guests on one of my trips. He was one of the most interesting guests I ever had and in all theses years I've thought of him, so I decided to google his name and here I am. Rest in Peace.

Posted by Name hidden
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle

on Jun 4, 2017 at 2:58 pm

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