• Dr. Josh T. Nessmith Jr.

Dr. Josh T. Nessmith Jr.

Dr. Josh Nessmith, 93, died Jan. 10, 2017, in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina. He was a native of Bulloch County. 

He is survived by a son, Josh T. Nessmith III of Warner Robins; two daughters and sons-in-law, Mrs. Nancy Nessmith Kitten and husband Lester Kitten of Charleston, South Carolina, and Dr. Carol Nessmith Pryby and husband Dr. Todd Louis Pryby of Clarkesville; three grandsons, Jacob Thomas Kitten, Evan Daniel Kitten and Dr. Christopher Ian Pryby and wife, Brittany Roberts Pryby; one brother and sister-in-law, William Emory Nessmith and Betty Nessmith; a sister-in-law, Dorinda Simmerson; a brother-in-law, Charles M. Simmerson and wife Claire; and a number of nieces and nephews. 

His wife, Alawayne Simmerson Nessmith; two daughters, Cynthia Jean Nessmith and Susan Patricia Nessmith; a sister, Martha Jean Rodgers; and a brother, Ben Robert Nessmith, predeceased him. 

After Dr. Nessmith’s graduation from Statesboro High, he attended Georgia Teachers College before entering Georgia Tech. His education was interrupted by his enlistment in the U.S. Army Ordnance (1942-46) operating on the East Coast and in Europe during World War II.   

He returned to Georgia Tech receiving his BSEE. He received the MSEE and Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania. Prior to becoming Senior Scientific Advisor at RCA, Dr. Nessmith managed the Systems Engineering Department of the Missile and Surface Radar Division of RCA. During the Development of the AEGIS Weapon System, he served as deputy program manager and manager of systems engineering providing the direction of  RCA and subcontractor system engineering. As missile and surface radar systems engineering manager he directed research on multifunction radars and weapon systems. As project manager, he was technically responsible for design, fabrication, test and operation of the TRADEX ABM measurement radar, a mainstay in the development and test of anti- and ballistic missiles for five decades. He also performed the system design of the key radars in the NASA net.  

Retiring from RCA, Dr. Nessmith went to Georgia Tech as a senior faculty leader performing research in radar and teaching Phased-Array Radar Design and Modern Radar. He served as a radar and weapon system consultant to industry and the government including the SDI Radar Discrimination Panel, Blue Ribbon Panel investigating NEXRAD weather radar requirements, and as chairman of ONR review of radar research at the Naval Research Laboratory. He served as a consultant to the Office of Naval Technology and as a member of the National Academy of Science Advanced Radar Technology Panels.  

Retiring from Georgia Tech in 1993, he served 12 years as a staff consultant to Georgia Tech, to the Applied Physics Laboratory of Johns Hopkins University on the Anti-Tactical Missile Panel and as a radar expert to the BMD Program Office. He continued to work after retirement and at his death he was still working for Georgia Tech. 

Professional affiliations and service included the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers, where he served on the Awards Board, Fellows Committee, Aerospace and Electronic Systems Society as vice president of operations, chairman of the International Radar Systems Panel, Education Society and Fortescue Fellowship Awards Committee. He served as an IEEE delegate to the People’s Republic of China in 1980. He was a member of the Anti-Aircraft Warfare and Planning Committees of the NSIA, and the University of Pennsylvania Advisory Board for both Electrical and System Engineering. 

Major publications include chapters on Radar in the Electrical Engineering Handbook, Antenna Engineering Handbook, Encyclopedia of Applied Physics and Antenna Applications Reference Guide. Major papers are included in conference records and in IEEE Society Journals. He presented at both national and international conferences.   

He received citations from the Advanced Research Project Agency, the U.S. Navy and the National Security Industrial Association. Awards included election as a Life Fellow in the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers, Fellow of the Military Sensing Symposia and the Admiral Sides Award by the NSIA.

Upon retirement he returned to Statesboro in 1993, he became a member of Kiwanis, a charter member of the GSU 1906 Society and the First United Methodist Church.   

Funeral services were held 11 a.m. at the First United Methodist Church of Statesboro on Saturday, Jan. 14, with the Rev. Scott Harris presiding. Interment was in the Eastside Cemetery.  

Pallbearers were Jacob and Evan Kitten, Ben Nessmith Jr., Donald Nessmith, R.B. Proctor and Dr. Todd L. Pryby. 

Honorary pallbearers were the Dan Williams Sunday School Class and the former Snooky’s Coffee clubs. 

Memorials may be made to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Georgia Chapter, 1117 Perimeter Center West, Suite E101, Atlanta, Georgia 30338 and the First United Methodist Church of Statesboro. 

The Clayton Tribune, Jan. 19, 2017

The Clayton Tribune

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