Gilbert D. Beinhocker, Inventor
Dr. Gilbert D. Beinhocker passed away peacefully in his beloved home in Belmont, Massachusetts on June 19, 2019. He was 86. Dr. Beinhocker was a prolific inventor who held sixteen patents and was a pioneer in the applications of computing technology.
He was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to Florence Shlifer and Joseph Beinhocker, and fell in love with science as a child. Despite many hardships, he earned a BA from Pennsylvania State University in 1954, an MS in physics from the University of Pennsylvania in 1958, and a Doctorate in Electrical Engineering from the University of Detroit in 1968.
Early in his career, as a systems engineer at the Burroughs Research Center, he helped develop the ground guidance system for the Atlas rocket. This was one of the first computerized missile guidance systems and used for the Atlas-Friendship 7 mission enabling John Glenn to become the first American to orbit the Earth in 1962. He was also the lead engineer on the team that developed the Stardac computer guidance system for the U.S. Navy’s Polaris nuclear submarine. In the 1960s through 1970s he held positions at Epsco, Control Logic Corporation, Syber Corporation, and was a co-founder of National Information Services, an early pioneer in the development of the minicomputer.
A lifelong inventor, Dr. Beinhocker had a significant and positive impact on society through his inventions. His patents include the first automatic visual field tester for which the National Council to Combat Blindness awarded him its annual “Fight for Sight” award in 1964. This invention is credited with saving or improving the vision of many thousands of people. His most recent series of patents was for an intrusion and leak detection system with widespread potential uses, including instantly detecting oil leaks in pipelines to prevent environmental damage. This invention was deeply connected to his passion for the preservation of nature and the environment. He founded a company in 2004, Tamper Proof Global Systems, that is currently commercializing this technology.
He also had a fun side to his inventions; he patented the first electronic chess game, “telechess”, which enabled two people to play chess over a telephone line using an acoustic computer modem.
His passion for science, education, and trying to uncover the mysteries of the universe is one of the greatest gifts he gave his children, along with his deep love for tennis, music, lively conversations, wildlife, the family cats (of which there were many) a good steak dinner, and beautiful beaches. Above all though, his greatest legacy will be his love for his family, in particular his wife of 53 years, Barbara Broadley, an artist and teacher who predeceased him in 2014. He is survived by his children, Eric Beinhocker, Elizabeth Overstreet, and Robert Beinhocker, as well as four grandchildren, Luke, Erin, Anna, and Clara, and a great-granddaughter Lydia.
A memorial service will be held on Saturday, June 29th at 11:00am at the Harvard Memorial Church in Harvard Yard, Cambridge, MA. The service will be followed by a reception. There is no parking at the church itself, but there are various paid lots nearby. If you require disabled parking please contact the family. If you arrive by taxi or Uber, we recommend dropping off at the gate by Loeb House, 17 Quincy Street.
Messages of condolences may be posted on www.keefefuneralhome.com. In lieu of flowers donations may be made to Wolf Hollow in Ipswich, MA, or to the Clearwater Marine Aquarium in Tampa, FL. Gil will be deeply missed by his family, friends, and all who knew him.
Wolf Hollow: http://wolfhollowipswich.org
the Clearwater Marine Aquarium: https://www.seewinter.com/support/donate/