Lasting Memories

Charles (Bud) Alfred Eldon
Nov. 15, 1926-Sept. 28, 2012
Corvallis, Oregon

Submitted by Doug Eldon

Born in 1926 in Tacoma, Wash., Bud moved to Hawaii in 1927 with his parents, when they returned to the place they had met. He grew up On Kaua'i, near McBride Sugar Plantation, where his father was chief engineer, and went to Eleele Elementary School, where his mother Dorothy ("Dot") taught.

The family moved to Honolulu in 1939, and was there to experience the Pearl Harbor bombing on Dec. 7, 1941. He attended Iolani Episcopal School (for boys), and Punahou High School. But he left Punahou a year early in 1944, before formally graduating, upon advice that he could complete a full year of college at Stanford University before being eligible for the draft.

He was drafted into the Navy shortly after his 18th birthday and spent nearly two years being trained as electronics technician, then was sent back to Hawaii to be put in service at Pearl Harbor. He returned to Stanford in fall of 1946 and completed a B.S. in physics in 1948, followed by an MBA in 1950.

In March, 1950, Bud married an undergraduate classmate, Betty Kahn, a sister of one of his fraternity brothers; in January 1951 he was hired by Hewlett-Packard, which at the time was a small company. He worked there as an engineer and as a manager and executive, at various operating divisions and at corporate headquarters, until he retired in March 1990.

During his working years Bud did volunteer work for Stanford, where he was elected chairman of the Graduate School of Business Fund, and earned the highest recognitions and awards of the university for his leadership.

Separately, at the direction of Mr. Hewlett, he joined what became IEEE, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. Elected to a series of leadership positions at local, then national levels, Bud ultimately was elected International President of IEEE in 1985, and to the Fellow grade of membership, the latter for his technical contributions "to manufacture high-quality electronic components and systems." IEEE is the world's largest professional society, which has grown to more than 400,000 members in more than 130 countries. In retirement, Bud became active in the Fort Huachuca Section in S.E. Arizona. Bud and Betty traveled extensively, first on business trips, and later with Elderhostel groups. During those retirement years they lived happily in Sierra Vista, Arizona, where Bud soon became a volunteer at Ramsey Canyon Preserve and the Nature Conservancy. In philanthropic matters, he supported teachers of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) in the Sierra Vista schools, with both time and financial contributions. In March of this year they moved to Corvallis. Bud is survived by his wife Betty, and their four children: Tony, (wife Anita and their children Charlene and Evan); Kay; Doug (wife Dorry and their children Eric, Jon and Annie); and Jim (wife Julie and their children, Miles and Ella). Bud's younger brother, Scott, died last January; their parents died many years ago.

There will be no memorial services; his ashes will be scattered in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Hawaii.

From Gary Ruppel
Oct. 6, 2012

I was fortunate to have known Bud. We taught several classes together on "Administrative Effectiveness" and Bud was a very good instructor. He will be missed by all who knew him. Gary Ruppel, HP retiree

From Paul Lum
Oct. 6, 2012

I am very sorry to hear the passing of Bud Eldon. I worked for Bud when I joined the Santa Chara IC Department back in the 1970's. Bud was the manufacturing manager at the time. We spoke often after I moved on to HP Labs. I lost track of Bud during the late 1980's. I always remember him as soft spoken, a kind gentleman, and a friend. Although he has passed, he will always be remembered.

From Bill Parrish
Oct. 5, 2012

In 1960 Bud Eldon was working for HP in Palo Alto - his son Tony and I were in Dick Empey's 4th grade class at Ohlones Elementary School which was at the time on Charleston Road. One day, Bud brought an HP Oscilloscope, signal generator, and decade counter to our class to demonstrate the concepts of frequency and measurement. Each student in the class got to go up and adjust the frequency and watch the scope waveform change and read the output on the decade counter. I was fascinated, and decided at that time that HP would be a pretty good place to work. I had one opportunity to reconnect with Bud at HP around 1974 when he was a lab manager at HP Santa Clara Division - I exercised the "open door policy" to go visit him and say "hi" even though I was "just" a summer student intern in one of the computer divisions. He was gracious as always, and remembered times I had been at their house. Prayers and condolences to Betty, Tony, and the rest of the family.