Theodore Ernest Luzzi Jr.
Dr. Theodore (Ted) Ernest Luzzi Jr., loving and respected husband, father, grandfather and patriot, passed away peacefully on July 3, 2019, at the age of 92. On July 2, he shared a loving 64th wedding anniversary with his wife, Margaret Theresa (Kennedy) Luzzi, in their home.
Ted is survived by his wife, Margaret Luzzi; daughter, Dr. Carol Luzzi, and son-in-law, Dr. Bruce Jones; son, Dr. David Luzzi, and daughter-in-law, Marla (Abelardo) Luzzi; and grandchildren: Clifford, Kelly and Bryce Jones and Marcus, Colin and Caitlyn Luzzi. He also had many loved other relatives and friends.
Ted was preceded in death by his siblings, Mary (Luzzi) Goldsmith, Joan (Luzzi) Marlow and Richard Luzzi.
Ted grew up on Long Island, N.Y., the son of Theodore Sr. and Alice (Belz) Luzzi. Growing up, Ted fell in love with engineering from watching his father, Theodore Sr., an early mechanical engineer who designed the air conditioning and refrigeration systems for iconic landmarks – the Empire State Building and the Rockefeller Center Ice Skating Rink. A veteran of World War II, Ted earned an engineering degree from Stevens Institute of Technology and a master's from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In 1963, he graduated from Columbia University as its first Doctor of Engineering Science in the new field of Plasma Physics.
One of many unsung heroes of the USA Apollo Program, Ted developed the theory of radar propagation through a rocket engine plasma as a research scientist at Grumman Aerospace Corp. Implemented as a computer algorithm, this theory enabled the accurate measurement of the distance from the lunar surface as Neil Armstrong piloted the Lunar Module to its historic landing, 50 years ago this month. His pioneering research in plasma physics also led to his work on the development of the plasma containment system used in the Tokamak Fusion Test Reactor at the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory. Ted also did extensive work on the design of military jets, including the F-14 Tomcat.
Beyond his professional accomplishments, he was passionate about astronomy, big band music and spending time with his family. Ted and Margaret’s legacy is the commitment to each other, to family, education and country that they instilled in their children and grandchildren.
As a fulfillment of his dedication to education and science, Ted requested that, in lieu of flowers, memorial donations be given to Western Michigan University School of Medicine.