Unexpected bequest to benefit students


For 36 years, Donald Keith North worked at MIT with the Speech Communication Group in the Research Laboratory of Electronics.

He was hired in 1959 as a technician by Professor Kenneth N. Stevens, who still heads the group, and over the years worked himself up to project technician, assisting the students in the group in countless ways.

"He was really a great help to the students in their projects," said Dr. Stevens, Clarence Joseph LeBel Professor of Electrical Engineering. And he devoted long hours to it, often spending part of his weekends in the lab, Professor Stevens said.

Originally from Florida, Mr. North lived by himself in Cambridge most of his life. "I think it's fair to say that MIT was his real home," Professor Stevens said, adding that in his spare time, Mr. North did some photography and was somewhat of a train buff.

His devotion to MIT was formally recognized in 1989 when he won a Murphy Award, given for dedication to the Institute, especially in regard to students.

In recent years, his health was not good, largely because of diabetes, but he continued to work although he had cut back to half time.

Mr. North died last February at the age of 67. "We had a memorial service," Professor Stevens said. "Some of his past students said they remembered being a little afraid of him because of his high standards, but they said it with a smile and with affection."

Mr. North's will demonstrated his affection for the Institute.

He left MIT the bulk of his estate, which is expected to be close to $165,000.

When the money becomes available in a few years, interest from it will be directed where all agree Mr. North would want it to be-to the students he worked with so much of his life.

According to Professor Stevens, the money will be used for such purposes as supporting student projects, including work done through the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program, and in sending students to conferences to present papers.

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OBITUARIES
Horace Dunbar

Horace Dunbar, 91, a longtime resident of Ipswich, died July 1 in Hartford, CT, after a long illness. Mr. Dunbar was a guard at Lincoln Laboratory from 1959 until his retirement in 1969. Mr. Dunbar is survived by his wife of 57 years, Mary McNamara Dunbar; a daughter, Nancy Moore of Tolland, CT, and two grandchildren.

Donna Frederick

Donna Frederick, 47, of Rockland, an administrative assistant in telecommunications, died on October 19 following a long illness. Ms. Frederick is survived by a brother, Ernest Frederick, also of Rockland.

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on December 6, 1995.


Topics: Obituaries, Staff

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