Former AAE Head Harold M. DeGroff Jr., 90 died Oct. 12, 2010

DeGroff bust
It is with great sadness that we learned Harold Miller DeGroff, Jr. 90, Indianapolis, formerly of Connersville and West Lafayette, died on October 12, 2010 in Indianapolis. He was born on May 10, 1920 to Harold and Marjorie (Lantz) DeGroff in Troy, Ohio, and was married to the late Sarah (Sally) Meek DeGroff for more than 54 years.

A former naval officer, he attended Cornell University, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and California Institute of Technology, where he earned his doctorate in aeronautics and mathematics.

A longtime Purdue University faculty member, he was head the School of Aeronautics and Astronautics from 1955 – 1963 during the height of the "space race," counting Neil Armstrong and other renowned NASA astronauts as his students. He also served on the faculty of Purdue's Krannert School of Management, was president of Midwest Applied Science Corporation, a pioneer tenant of Purdue's Research Park, and served as vice president of Design & Manufacturing Corporation in Connersville.

An Endowed scholarship was recently established at Purdue in his name for students in management or aeronautical engineering who are earning a Certificate in Entrepreneurship and Innovation.

DeGroff was an avid student of history, music and art and an active civic volunteer. He and Sally were dedicated members of the Lewis and Clark Trail Heritage Foundation, which named him a Lifetime member in 2008. He was particularly fond and supportive of the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art and followed the glaucoma research being conducted by the Indiana University School of Medicine Department of Ophthalmology with great interest and gratitude. Hal and Sally traveled widely and loved nothing more than retracing the steps of the Lewis and Clark expedition, exploring far-flung destinations or retreating to their "home away from home" in Zihuatanejo, Mexico.

His greatest pleasures, however, were found at home, where he relished time with family, his Labrador Retrievers, Depression-era tractor and garden. He was never without a project and loved Christmas mornings and holiday dinners with Sally, his loving children Tom DeGroff (Ann), Katie Marlowe, Joe DeGroff (Debbie), Mary Barnett (Marty) and Judy Rinehart (Jerry) and grandchildren Sheila, Ashley, Erica, Ben, Jim, David, Adam, Claire, Will, Molly and Whitney.