David Filmer: 1932-2021

Emeritus adjunct professor died May 23.

Emeritus adjunct professor David Filmer, 88, died May 23.

Filmer joined the School of Aeronautics and Astronautics in 2002 as an adjunct professor after retiring from his faculty position in Purdue’s Department of Biological Sciences.

Dave Filmer
David Filmer

Filmer called working with AAE a “dream come true.” A radio amateur, Filmer spent time talking to astronauts aboard the International Space Station, he said, which sparked an interest in space travel and communication with those in space.

He broadly impacted AAE before retiring from AAE in 2019.

“We relied heavily on Dave’s amateur radio and amateur satellite ‘hobby’ to help us develop early courses and course content related to satellites and satellite communications; he contributed greatly to our use of LabVIEW software across our program; and he supervised many directed study projects that focused on constructing satellite components,” said William Crossley, J. William Uhrig and Anastasia Vournas Head of Aeronautics and Astronautics.

Filmer taught “Introduction to LabVIEW,” “Introduction to Satellite Systems,” and “Satellite Design.”

His research interests and passion for space translated into a willingness to support the School beyond teaching and research.

In 2005, he established the David L. Filmer Scholarship for undergraduate AAE students. In 2013, Filmer and wife Christiane Keck, professor emerita of German and former head of the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures, created an endowment to help fund research for tenure track and tenured faculty working in the area of Astrodynamics and Space Applications.

“Establishing this endowment was my way of saying thank you to Purdue for all it has given me — something to show my appreciation and to allow continuing research in astronautics,” he told the Purdue Research Foundation at the time. “There are so many talented students and faculty here at Purdue. As future generations expand on my research, I hope some of them come in with really creative ideas and have the money to take them to reality. It is my desire that the dollars coming from our endowment will be able to help in some small way.”

Visitation is at noon on June 4 at Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church in West Lafayette. There will be a livestream of the 1 p.m. service.

Memorial contributions in Filmer’s name may be made to the Salvation Army, Lafayette Rotary Club Foundation or Western Indiana Radio Emergency Services.

“Dave and Christa are both part of the AAE family,” Crossley said. “Our condolences and thoughts are with Christa and the rest of the Filmer family.”