Louis Frank Kazda, emeritus professor of electrical engineering and computer science, died Jan. 15 at his home in Las Cruces, N.M.
Kazda was born in 1916 in Dayton, Ohio and graduated from Stiverson High School in 1934. He received a bachelor of science in electrical engineering in 1940 and a master of science in electrical engineering in 1943, both from the University of Cincinnati. He earned his doctorate in electrical engineering from Syracuse University in 1962.
Kazda joined the U-M faculty as an instructor in 1947. He became an assistant professor in 1951,was promoted to associate professor in 1957 and achieved the rank of full professor in 1960.
During WWII (1943-45), Kazda worked in the research laboratory of the Eclipse-Pioneer Division of the Bendix Corporation in New Jersey, studying a new theoretical area—servomechanisms and their application in the development of control systems for military aircraft and radar. He became interested in the underlying theory and decided to specialize in this area. He worked briefly as chief engineer at the J.W. Newton Laboratories of New York City and Cape Charles, Va., before coming to Ann Arbor.
During his early years at the University, Kazda worked closely with Professor J.S. Gault, author of books on A-C machinery and an expert in machines and industrial control systems. Together they developed two graduate courses in the control systems area. Kazda also worked at U-M’s Willow Run classified research facility, and participated in research that contributed to the department’s development of a graduate program in the control and communication systems area.
Kazda later turned his attention to energy systems and served as director of the Power Systems and Energy Conversion Laboratory from 1975-1980.
Kazda graduated 22 doctoral students during his time at U-M. He published in major technical journals, attended numerous technical conferences and received a number of professional honors, including the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Centennial Medal and Certificate in 1984 in recognition of exceptional service to the profession. He also was a fellow of the IEEE.
Following his retirement from U-M in 1985, Kazda and wife, Jane, moved to Las Cruces, where he continued to inspire students, teaching for many years at New Mexico State University.
Kazda is survived by two daughters, Sally Stites of Norman, Okla., and Joan Kazda of Las Cruces; and by four grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren. His wife and a daughter, Judith Ann, both preceded him in death.