Cover photo for Willis Carl Kellogg's Obituary
Willis Carl Kellogg Profile Photo
1932 Willis 2017

Willis Carl Kellogg

May 28, 1932 — May 31, 2017

Willis Carl "Bill" Kellogg age 85 of Concord died May 31, 2017. Bill was born in Cleveland, Ohio to John H. and Hannah (Witkop) Kellogg on May 28, 1932. He grew up in Shaker Heights, OH, where he attended Shaker Heights High School. He learned to sail on Lake Erie with his father and older brother and developed a lifelong fascination with all things electronic, tinkering with model trains and building radios. He attended Yale University, graduating in 1954 with a degree in physics and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. At Yale, he and his sailing buddies dubbed themselves the "Bilge Boys," a label and a bond that lasted a lifetime. After Yale, he moved to Cambridge, MA to study at Harvard and was awarded a doctorate in Applied Physics in 1966.

In May 1961, Bill met Nancy Crowell at a house party in Belmont, MA and called her for a date a few days later. Six months later, on November 18, 1961, they were married in her hometown of Milford, CT. The couple lived in Belmont, and Bill worked for MITRE Corporation while he finished his thesis at Harvard. In 1963 and 1965 they welcomed daughters Sarah and Katherine. In 1967 the family moved to their home in Concord, where Bill resided until his death. John was born in 1969. Bill appreciated Concord for its unspoiled outdoor spaces, history, strong public school system, and proximity to both the cultural offerings of Boston and harbors of the north shore, where he sailed Thistles with friends. He took his family canoeing on the rivers, walking in the Estabrook Woods and the rifle range, swimming in Kennedy's, White, and Walden ponds, and riding bicycles to watch the Patriots' Day parade, usually with a stop at Brigham's for a chocolate mint ice cream soda. The family also explored the Museum of Science, Childrens' Museum, and New England Aquarium. Farther afield, Bill loved to hike Mount Monadnock and the mountains of Acadia and sail the waters of the Maine coast, particularly Blue Hill Bay, Frenchman's Bay and downeast.

Bill's career in the defense industry reflected his need to occupy his inquisitive and keenly analytical mind with problem solving. Over the course of his career, he worked as an engineer for MITRE, Lincoln Laboratory, Raytheon, Teledyne Brown Engineering, and SenCom Engineering, as well as consulting on the side for NASA and various small engineering companies. Bill also served as Assistant Professor in the Engineering department at Boston University in the late 1960's. While he relished the challenge of sparking students' interest and guiding their learning and development, he chafed at academic politics and returned to working in industry in 1971.

As a radar systems engineer, his work focused on the design of the computer systems that handled radar signal processing. During a two year assignment on Kwajalein, Marshall Islands, he commuted by plane every day to the Island of Roi Numur, working on the TRADEX radar, which tracked test missile reentry vehicles launched from California. He was later part of the team at Raytheon that designed and tested the communications systems for the PAVE PAWS (Precision Acquisition Vehicle Entry Phased Array Warning System) and BMEWS (Ballistic Missile Early Warning System) radars on Cape Cod and in Greenland and Yorkshire.

Bill's two-year tour on Kwajalein (1972-1974) arose at the urging of his daughters, who begged him to accept the assignment to the tropical island. Those years provided Bill the opportunity to indulge his hobbies. He taught sailing every weekend, swam in the lagoon, and used his skills as a licensed amateur radio operator ("radio ham") to keep the Kwaj families in touch with their loved ones state-side. On returning from Kwaj, he continued his ham radio hobby, operating from the basement under the call letters K1UBB and making connections with radio hams all over the world. Later in life he even adapted his radio so that he could operate it from the car while Nancy drove.

For many summers, the family vacationed at the Appalachian Mountain Club camp at Echo Lake in Southwest Harbor, Maine. Bill loved to swim before breakfast in the cold lake, hike the mountains, and sail the coastal waters. He made treasured friends from varying backgrounds with whom he loved to discuss topics from history, science, classical music and politics as well as telling shaggy dog stories, reciting poetry and making bad puns.

Bill's retirement years were devoted to watching his family grow to include children-in-law and grandchildren, reading voraciously on a broad range of topics, traveling with Nancy, and keeping his mind nimble with basement woodworking and electronics projects. His tinkering extended from building a timer to prevent the iron from being left on to making an adapter so the cell phone car charger could be used in the house.

Bill leaves his beloved wife, Nancy; children Sarah Kellogg and husband Russell Martin of Hermitage, PA; Katherine Kellogg and husband David Johnson of Oakland, CA; and John Kellogg and wife Jennifer Kellogg of Lenexa, KS; grandchildren, Lydia and Jack Kellogg and Juliana, Peter and Sasha Martin; granddogs Pita, George, and Karmen; a sister, Anne Fries of Acton; sister-in-law Annabelle Kellogg of Concord; and many nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by his parents, brother John H. Kellogg, and brother-in-law John E. Fries.

Family and friends will gather to honor and remember Bill on Saturday, June 10, at 1:00 pm in the Trinitarian Congregational Church, 54 Walden St., Concord.

Donations in his memory may be made to:
Concord Public Library
129 Main St.
Concord, MA 01742
Appalachian Mountain Club,
5 Joy St.
Boston, MA 02108.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Memorial Service

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Starts at 1:00 pm (Eastern time)


54 Walden St, Concord, MA 01742

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