William John Pietenpol

15 julio , 192114 noviembre , 2020

William J. “Pete” Pietenpol passed away in Fort Collins, Colorado on November 14, 2020 after succumbing to injuries sustained from a fall. He was 99 years old.

Pete will be remembered for his professional accomplishments as well as being a compassionate, moral and upstanding friend and family man.

Born in Boulder, Colorado on July 15, 1921, Pete was the only son of William B. and Helen (Carson) Pietenpol. The Boulder area would shape Pete’s life throughout the decades to come, and it was only right that he attended the University of Colorado, Boulder—graduating with a Bachelors of Science in Electrical Engineering and a Bachelors of Arts in Physics in 1943. Pete would return to the University of Colorado later in his life, first as a Lecturer in Electrical Engineering then as Dean of the College Engineering and Applied Sciences from 1978-1980.

During World War II, Pete developed photoelectric and photomultiplier vacuum tubes which were deployed in radar jamming systems supporting the Allied landings in Europe. After the war, Pete returned to school, earning a PhD in Electrical Engineering from Ohio State University in 1949.

Pete worked in many dynamic and high-profile fields throughout his career in electrical engineering. He was proud to work with Bell Labs as Director of Solid State Device Development (transistors; 1948-1958) and Sylvania Electric as Vice President of Sylvania and General Manager of the Semiconductor Division (1958-1961). He also held leadership roles at IBM, Bell and Howell Labs, and Thompson Respiration Products. For his contributions to the field, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) awarded Pete with a IEEE Millennium Medal, given “to individuals who have been selected by IEEE societies, regions, sections and major boards for outstanding contributions in their respective areas of activity.” He was one of 45 globally to receive this award from the Electron Devices Society of IEEE.

Beyond his prolific professional and academic achievements, Pete was also eminently successful as a family man and friend. He met the love of his life, Marlea (Roberts), while at the Ohio State University. The two were married March 11, 1950, and remained entirely devoted to each other until Marlea’s death in 2009. Pete and Marlea raised two children Lynn (Johnson) and David. Pete will be remembered for his even keel, easy laughter and generosity of time and expertise.

Pete was a life-long lover of golf—he played as often as he could, and even when he physically wasn’t able, he’d ride along in the cart. He also loved the game of bocce ball, and installed a court in his home. Pete also had a life-long passion for the game of Bridge and played multiple times a week through the end of his life. He made many deep and lasting relationships through the bridge community, and was constantly thankful for those people who challenged him to keep improving and learning his card skills.

Pete is survived by his son-in-law Ken Johnson and his wife Nancy Skidmore Johnson, daughter-in-law Charlotte West-Pietenpol, grandchildren Brian, Alison, Chase, Annelise, Anika and Bryce and great-grandchildren Sidney, Eliot, Avery, and William. He was preceded in death by his parents, wife, daughter and son.

A celebration of life is planned for Spring 2021, after the COVID-19 restrictions are eased.


William John Pietenpol


Patricia Tiller

18 noviembre , 2020

Dearest Charlotte and kiddos...
I remember Don talking endlessly about his visits with Dave & "Pete". He enjoyed them both so much and always talked about how smart they were. That is probably why the kids (young adults) have been so successful. Quite a year for you Miss Charlotte. We love you and praying for you through this time.
Hugs, Patty & Don