Henry B. “Hank” Abajian Sr., 96, of Port Charlotte, Fla., passed away Saturday, Dec. 15, 2012, in Myrtle Beach, S.C.
He was born Feb. 19, 1916, in Providence, R.I.
Early in his career as an electrical engineer, Hank went to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Radiation Laboratory (Rad. Lab), the focal point of advanced radar development during World War II. There he had the good fortune to be assigned to the team developing the SCR-584 radar system, one of the most successful radar systems deployed in England and throughout the Pacific theater. Hank traveled from England, after setting up the many “belts” that protected London, to Guadalcanal, where he established the training schools required to maintain the many radar systems deployed throughout the pacific. He was awarded the Medal of Freedom for meritorious acts and services that aided in the war effort of the United States and its allies. In his position as Special Assistant to the Vice President and Division Director of Airborne Instruments Laboratory (AIL), Hank was later called upon to use his formidable skills as an engineer and negotiator in the production of a small, yet sophisticated radar system, AN/PPS-5, for the U.S. Army. Cited in numerous books and articles related to the development of radar, he was most proud of his contributions to the Public Television program NOVA “Echoes of War,” originally broadcast in 1989, which tells the little-known wartime history of radar during WWII. An intelligent, kind and modest man, “one of the good guys,” Hank will be forever missed.
He is survived by his sons, Paul (Carmela) of Myrtle Beach, and John (companion, Scott Simmons) of New Orleans, La.; five beautiful and loving grandchildren; many nieces and nephews, all of whom he dearly loved; a dear sister-in-law, Isabel Mgrdechian of Westbury, N.Y.; and dearest neighbors, Karen and George Wood, and Lucy Moreno of Port Charlotte. Hank was preceded in death by his parents, John and Anoushig Abajian; son, Henry Jr.; and his loving wife, Anne, whom he showered with love for over 70 years.
The family was set to receive friends Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2012, at Goldfinch Funeral Home, Conway, S.C., Chapel. Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. today, Thursday, Dec. 20, 2012, at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church of Conway, with the Revs. Tripp Jeffords and Jason Collins officiating. Memorials may be sent to St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 710 Main St., Conway, SC 29526. Sign a guestbook at www.goldfinchfuneralhome.com.
Arrangements are by Goldfinch Funeral Home, Conway Chapel.