Obit: Dr. Walter A. Flood
February 19, 2003
The News & Observer
RALEIGH -- Dr. Walter A. Flood, formerly Director of Geosciences Division, Army Research Office in Research Triangle Park, NC and previously Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at North Carolina State University, died February 15, 2003 at Rex Hospital in Raleigh, NC following a brief period of illness.
Dr. Flood was born in New York City on April 27, 1927, the oldest of three sons and one daughter of Walter A. and Lillian E. Peterson Flood. He was educated at Queens College in New York, Syracuse University, Pennsylvania State University, and Cornell University.
"Bud", as he was widely known to his family, friends, and colleagues, married Joan Cruthers on September 6, 1954 and they lived with their two sons Peter Michael and Timothy Paul, and daughter, Amanda Joan in Buffalo, NY prior to moving to the present family residence in the Brookhaven Community in Raleigh.
Bud's early childhood and all of his primary and secondary education were in New York City. His extensive university experience began in 1943 when he enrolled in the Pre-Med program at Queens College, NYC. Having switched interest from medicine to electrical engineering, Bud participated in the Army Specialized Training Program at Syracuse University (1944-45) and Pennsylvania State University (1945-46) before completing his undergraduate BEE degree at Cornel University in 1949. He was awarded a research assistantship in the Ionosphere Laboratory at Cornell, which enabled him to complete his first graduate degree in electrical engineering (MEE) in 1951. While continuing doctoral studies (as a Mc Mullan Fellow) at Cornell, Bud was a Research Associate at the Geophysical Institute of Alaska. In 1954 he received his Ph.D. degree in electrical engineering from Cornell University.
In 1954 Dr. Flood joined Cornell Aeronautical Laboratories (CAL), Buffalo NY, where he served in various positions before being appointed Staff Scientist in the Applied Physics Department. While at CAL he initiated a program of research into radar backscatter from the aurora (radio interferometric measurements of scintillation produced as a result of observations of a radio "star" through the auroral ionosphere). During this time he also served on various evaluation panels for the US Army, notably the drone project, and conducted two experimental programs dealing with HF propagation and VHF scintillation associated with the 1962 High Altitude Test Series.
Dr. Flood was appointed Professor of Electrical Engineering at North Carolina State University in 1967, where he instituted graduate courses in radiowave and optical propagation and an undergraduate course in radar systems. While Bud supervised many graduate students through to completion of their MS and Ph.D. programs, he particularly enjoyed undergraduate teaching and made it his aim to teach almost every required "Core" course in the undergraduate electrical engineering program. His former NCSU colleagues remember him, not only as a mentor of students but also of young faculty, to whom he was an inspiration and a source of encouragement. Bud's interest were broadly based and he had a forwardlooking perspective on electrical engineering education. He tried hard to pass that on to his students, many of whom will recall their interesting one-on-one sessions with Professor Flood, and not always after an exam.
In 1981 Dr. Flood accepted the position of Director, Geosciences Division at the Army Research Office (ARO) in Research Triangle Park, NC where he managed a basic research program in the atmospheric and terrestrial sciences. At universities throughout the nation, he supported and encouraged new research programs aimed at investigating the propagation and scatter effects of turbid and turbulent atmospheres. While Dr. Flood retired from his position at ARO in 1995, results from the new programs he helped to establish continue to make appearance in the archival journals of the relevant scientific and engineering professional societies. Some typical testimonials upon his retirement are: "The dedication and intellectual contribution that you have given have made a major contribution to the advances in basic research during the past 20 years.", "You have always pursued the leading edge of knowledge in a wide range of topics having to do with the propagation of some form of electromagnetic radiation whether RF, microwaves, IR, or optical."
Dr. Flood held active memberships in many professional societies such as the Antennas & Propagation Society, The Geoscience & Remote Sensing Society, American Geophysical Union, International Union of Radio Science, NATO Advisory Group on Aerospace Research, Army Science Board and the Defense Nuclear Agency Advisory Board.
In 1991 he was elected Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers for "contributions to the understanding of microwave and milimeter-wave propagation and scattering by geophysical media".
Dr. Flood is survived by his loving wife, Joan and their three children, Peter Michael Flood and wife, Carol of Raleigh, NC, Amanda Joan Donnelly of Raleigh, NC; and Timothy Paul Flood of Apex, NC; grandchildren, Eric, Laura, and Lindsey Flood and Matthew, and Michael Donnelly, and Malisa Jones and husband, Rodney; great-granddaughter, Abigail Jones, all of Raleigh; brother, Daniel and wife, Mona of New York and numerous cousins, nieces, nephews, greatnieces, and great-nephews.
He was preceded in death by his father and mother, William A. and Lillian Flood of Long Island, NY, sister Ann Flood and brother, Raymond Flood of New York City.
Dr. Flood was a active parishioner of Sacred Heart Cathedral, Hillsborough Street, Raleigh, NC where his funeral Mass will be said at 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday, February 19, 2003. A private graveside service will be at Raleigh Memorial Park.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to Hospice of Wake County, 1300 St. Mary's St., Raleigh, NC 27605.