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Mullins & Thompson Funeral Service

186 Shelton Shop Road, Stafford, VA

OBITUARY

Ronald Lloyd Beard

March 17, 1944July 20, 2020

Ronald Beard, 76, passed away July 20, 2020.

He is survived by his wife of 54 years, Carol Ann Beard; his son, Orson Beard (fiancé Melissa); grandchildren, Zachary, Kyle and Elizabeth; and his half-brother, Terry.

He is preceded in death by his son, Gregory.

Ronald Beard was a physicist at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory (NRL). He held undergraduate degrees in Chemical Engineering and Physics and a graduate degree from George Washington University. He began his professional career as an officer in the U.S. Navy in 1968. He retired from full-time government service in 2015, but continued to work part-time at NRL until the time of his death. Mr. Beard’s most notable contribution was as a pioneer in the design and development of technologies for the Global Positioning System (GPS), an essential and ubiquitous capability used all over the world. He continued supporting the operation of GPS and the development of improvements to it. His work also included the expansion of the basic capabilities of GPS into precise frequency and time of day distribution for communications, business, and scientific research.

As a young naval officer, Ron was the Project Officer for Navigation Satellites in the Naval Air Systems Command's Astronautics Division and the TIMATION program, a forerunner to GPS. In 1971 he joined the NRL and their early GPS developments (1971-1979) as the project scientist in the NRL's GPS Program Office which developed Navigation Technology Satellites One and Two and operated the first atomic clocks in space. In succeeding years, he was the Program Manager of the NRL NAVSTAR GPS Clock Development Program that developed alternative sources of space qualified atomic clocks for the GPS program.

One of the primary and most critical contributions of NRL to the GPS program were the development of technologies for enabling space qualified atomic clocks. Those developments began in the early days of GPS and continued under Mr. Beard’s leadership when he became the head of the Space Applications Branch in 1984. Under his leadership that technology came to fruition in the Rubidium technology used in the operational GPS satellites of today. Ron was also instrumental in the development of NRL’s unique capability to test these units under operationally space–like conditions, a capability still used today to test and validate GPS space clocks.

Mr. Beard has participated in numerous technical groups including the Air Force Scientific Advisory Board Study Group into Global Air Navigation, Navy representative on Project Reliance Frequency Control Panel, Head of the DoD PNT Focus Team for Space Technology. He has authored or co-authored over 50 technical papers. He was an organizer of the Joint Navigation Conference (JNC) as part of the Institute of Navigation (ION), and served as a Government Liaison to the ION's Military Division. He was a Fellow of the Institute of Navigation and an ION member for over 30 years. He was also a member of the annual Precise Time and Time Interval (PTTI) Executive Committee, where he served in several executive positions and received the Distinguished PTTI Service Award in 2012. He was a member of the American Geophysical Union and a Senior Member of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics.

Mr. Beard has participated in or chaired numerous committees dealing with Precise Time and Frequency that have determined the course of systems and technology development both nationally and internationally. He has been the International chairman of the ITU-R working party on Precise Time and Frequency Services since 2005 that determines recommendations to the international community on the generation, dissemination and evaluation of precise time and frequency systems. As the chairman he has participated not only in ITU-R workshops, seminars and working groups but also has represented the ITU and the U.S. in international committees that determine the international time scale and dissemination services.

A memorial service will be held at a later date at the Chapel Springs Church in Manassas, Virginia.

Online condolences may be made at Mullunsthompsonstafford.com

Services

  • Visitation

    Wednesday, September 16, 2020

  • Funeral Service

    Wednesday, September 16, 2020

  • Interment

    Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Memories

Ronald Lloyd Beard

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Julius Akpalu

September 3, 2020

I was so sad when I came across the news of your death on the ITU web page.

My fondest memory of you was when I met you as the Chairman of ITU-R Working Party 7A at my first ITU Working Party meeting attendance in Geneva first week of June, 2019. I was impressed at your experience and asked for your call card.

I got in touch with you after reaching home in Ghana after the meeting and you were kind enough to share with me some great experiences and promised to share more with me later but unfortunately, I will not have the opportunity to learn more from you because you have been called into eternal rest from the hustles of this world.

May you rest in the bosom of our Lord till we meet again. You will be missed greatly, sir.

Rest in Perfect Peace.

Julius Anani Akpalu
National Communications Authority of Ghana

Julius Akpalu

September 3, 2020

I was so sad when I came across the news of your death on the ITU web page.

My fondest memory of you was when I met you as the Chairman of ITU-R Working Party 7A at my first ITU Working Party meeting attendance in Geneva first week of June, 2019. I was impressed at your experience and asked for your call card.

I got in touch with you after reaching home in Ghana after the meeting and you were kind enough to share with me some great experiences and promised to share more with me later but unfortunately, I will not have the opportunity to learn more from you because you have been called into eternal rest from the hustles of this world.

May you rest in the bosom of our Lord till we meet again. You will be missed greatly, sir.

Rest in Perfect Peace.

Jerome Delporte

August 17, 2020

My name is Jerome Delporte, I work at CNES, the French Space Agency in Toulouse, France.
I was saddened to hear that Ron passed away. I regularly met him at ITU WP7A meetings in Geneva and also at various time & frequency conferences. I especially remember that he took the time for a personal visit of NRL when I came to DC for a PTTI conference about 10 years ago. I also remember he came to visit CNES Toulouse on my invitation a few years later at the occasion of a travel to Geneva.
I truly enjoyed his technical expertise and his constant humor. I would like to offer Ron's family my deepest and most sincere condolences.

Scott Crane

August 10, 2020

I will always remember Ron for giving me a home at NRL where I could learn and grow. He was always willing to stop and have a conversation about whatever you needed or wanted or just to share a nice moment of levity. My kind condolences to his family.

Lisa Moreau

August 2, 2020

Sending my deepest sympathies to Ron's family and friends.
I will never forget the kindness Ron showed me every time we met. He will be sorely missed by everyone in the precise timing world. I am so thankful to have known him.

Dhiman Sengupta

July 31, 2020

I extend my deepest condolences to the family. Ron will forever be a mentor to me, he has taught me many things while at NRL. I greatly appreciate his impact in my life and it is due to his support and mentorship that I got the courage to pursuit my PhD. Ron will be truely missed.

John McHale

July 29, 2020

Great engineer over many years with Naval Research Laboratory.

S.M.N. Zadeh

July 29, 2020

I extend my deepest condolences to the family and members of the ITU on the death of this dear scientist.


from Iran Telecommunication Research Center

Elizabeth Beard

July 28, 2020

My grandfather was one of my favorite people and I was not shy to tell anyone that despite his embarrassment every time I did. I tried to to share his many accomplishments with each person I met and will continue to hopefully spread his legacy.

He was a kind man, who wasn't afraid to bring up the elephant in the room and always put others before himself. He always made me smile when we would smell like tobacco from his pipe or he would light up talking about his pen collection.

His memory will always bring a smile to my face and we will all miss him dearly.

Bob & Shayla Taylor

July 27, 2020

Our memories of Ron are those of a consummate professional. His demeanor of dedication and friendly collaboration in some difficult discussions will be long remembered with respect and admiration.
We will miss you, Ron, Rest in Peace.

FROM THE FAMILY
FROM THE FAMILY

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