Peter Cowley Tramm
May 2, 1933 – November 4, 2019
Peter Cowley Tramm, age 86, of Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, formerly of Indianapolis, Indiana, passed away Monday, November 4, 2019 in East Lansing, Michigan. A man of brilliance, unwavering integrity, enduring friendships, deep love of and pride in his family, gracious manners, humility, and deep happiness in and with his life. He was born in Reardan, Washington, on May 2, 1933, the son of C. Ward Tramm and Katherine Cowley Tramm. From an early age, he worked on his family’s wheat and cattle ranch, driving a tractor by the age of seven and a truck by nine. He discovered his love of all things aeronautical, when P-38 Lightenings out of Fairchild Air Force base flew over his elementary school. His childhood hobby was building large glider models. His parents sent him to Lakeside School in Seattle, Washington, where he discovered his love of mathematics and physics. He received his BS in Mechanical Engineering from Washington State University, where his top professor encouraged him to interview at Pratt & Whitney Aircraft Company. He was fortunate that his new wife, Sylvia, shared his sense of adventure as they set off to a new life in Connecticut, where all their children were born. While working at Pratt & Whitney, he received his MS in Mechanical Engineering, from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. For most of his professional life, Peter served as a Director of Research for Allison Gas Turbines in Indianapolis, Indiana, first as a part of General Motors, Inc., then as a division of Rolls-Royce. The purchase of Allison by Rolls-Royce provided the opportunity for Peter and Sylvia to live in Derbyshire, UK for two years prior to his retirement. They traveled extensively during those two years, including to Russia, India, and across western Europe, with numerous trips to Paris, one of their favorite cities. Their earlier travels to Japan, Australia and Tahiti, and Peter’s later trips with close friends to Peru and New Zealand were great memories he shared with his children and grandchildren. In 2000, he was awarded the Aircraft Engine Technology Award by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) and in 2001, he was named a British Bronze Medalist by the Royal Aeronautical Society (RAeS). In 1992, he was awarded the IUPUI Spirit of Philanthropy for his work to establish and develop the Engineering program at IUPUI in collaboration with Purdue University. He is the holder of numerous patents in combustion and supersonic blading. Peter and Sylvia moved permanently to Hilton Head Island in 1998. He served as a volunteer math tutor for the Literacy Center of Hilton Head and as both a glider instructor and officer of the Low Country Soaring Association in Ridgeland, SC. Peter was predeceased by his beloved wife, Sylvia, his beloved brother-in-law, Deryck Christy and his beloved sister, Barbara Tramm Benner. He is survived by his children, Peter W. Tramm of Basalt, Colorado, Louis and Constance C. Tramm Hunt of East Lansing, Michigan, Christopher D. Tramm of New Castle, Colorado, David A. Tramm of Avon, Colorado, sister-in-law, Penny Christy of Middletown, Connecticut, nephew, Richard Christy of Las Vegas, Nevada, cousins, Roland and Wendy Dilda of Laguna Beach, California, and ten grandchildren, Peter, Koren, Jeremy, Elizabeth, Emelie, Alexander, Timothy, Xavier, Ava and Storey. A private Celebration of Life will be held in the future. In lieu of flowers, please consider contributions to the scholarship which Peter established for his late wife: Sylvia E. Tramm Endowed Scholarship at James Madison College, Michigan State University, Development Office, 328 Case Hall, East Lansing, MI 48825-1205. (517-432-2117).
Fond memories and expressions of sympathy may be shared at www.greastlansing.com for the Tramm family.