Dr. Herbert Raabe Dies at 95

Dr. Herbert Raabe Dies at 95


Dr. Herbert P. Raabe, a Potomac, Maryland resident since 1968, died Aug. 25 in Rockville 10 days after celebrating his 95th birthday.

Dr. Raabe was born in Halle on the Saale River in Germany in 1909 to Katharina Raabe, nee Schneider and Theodor Raabe. As a youngster, he attended the Humboldt Oberrealschule in Zeitz, and subsequently studied at the Technical University of Berlin. In 1939, he earned his doctorate (summa cum laude) in Electrical Engineering at the Berlin Institute of Technology . During WWII, he developed radar techniques at the Heinrich-Hertz-Institute for Oscillation Research.

After the closing of the Berlin Institute of Technology at the end of WWII, Dr. Raabe devoted himself to the development of a microfilm retrieval system to offset the lack of literature lost due to the events of the war. He was also employed in 1946 by the Communications Institute of the Soviet Military Administration where he developed an infrasound signal and control system and proposed an electronic telephone switching technology. On invitation by the U.S. Air Force in 1947, Dr. Raabe worked as Technical Consultant of the Aerial Reconnaissance Laboratory at the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio. His work included the development of an interferometer for the analysis of radar pulses and a rotary waveguide joint for dual channels.

In 1956, Dr. Raabe joined the Electronics Division of General Mills, Inc., which merged with Litton Industries in 1963. He developed novel radar technologies and electromagnetic counter-measures (ECM), as well as passive communications satellites and optical sensors for the stabilization of satellites. In 1962, Dr. Raabe presented his paper on passive satellites at the XIII International Astonautics Conference in Varna, Bulgaria. From 1966 to 1974, Dr. Raabe was employed with the IBM Federal Systems Division, where he worked on a novel ECM technology, the analysis of radar echoes, and retrodirective antenna arrays. He also advised NASA on the design of a Microwave Landing System (MLS) for the space shuttle. Dr. Raabe answered to NATO's invitation for an international competition on a proposal for Instrument Landing Systems (ILS). His proposal, developed single-handedly on his own time, won 1st place for consideration but was eventually eliminated for lack of company support and demonstration of a functional model.

In 1989, Dr. Raabe was commemorated at Kleinheubach, Germany upon the 50th anniversary of the publication of his significant doctoral dissertation, titled "Investigation of Time Multiplex Transmission", where he was named the "Father of the Digital Sampling Theorem". The dissertation presented the sampling theorem and its application to time multiplex transmission. The dissertation was published in its original form in the journal Elektrische Nachrichtentechnik (Electrical Communications Technique) 16 : p.213-228 (1939).

Dr. Raabe was a member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, the American Institute for Aeronautics and Astronautics, and an honorary member of the Association for Space Travel of 1927. He was awarded 19 patents and published 15 papers.

After his retirement in 1974, Dr. Raabe devoted his efforts towards developing a novel record player tonearm for the HiFi audiophile industry. He also continued actively as a technical consultant, and in 1992 he was invited by the Institute of Navigation to give a presentation titled "A Microwave Landing System for the Twenty-first Century" at their national technical meeting. He was a member of the West Montgomery Citizens Association since 1968. He initiated a program in Montgomery County called "Save Our Streets" directed at petitioning the removal of speed bumps from thoroughfares. He supported the River Road Unitarian Church through the building committee, was a member of the board of trustees for 3 years, and he implemented a recycling program long before such programs were popular. And in his spare time, he continued in his passion for painting and drawing and designing.

He is remembered and missed dearly by his loving and devoted wife of 48 years, Hildegard Raabe, nee Zumbusch, his four children: Angelica Novaes and her two sons, Marcio and Alexander Novaes; Eleonore Raabe; Bertram Raabe and his wife Michelle, and their daughter Alyssa; and Hans Raabe and his wife Ellen, and their two sons Matthew and Corwin. Dr. Raabe is preceded in death by his first wife Charlotte Raabe, nee Lettau, whom he married in 1940, and who had died in 1952, and their eldest son Wolfram, who had diedin 1957.

The family will receive friends at a memorial service at 2 p.m. on Sunday, September 19, 2004 at the River Road Unitarian Church, 6301 River Road, Bethesda. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made in his memory to either the River Road Unitarian Church Building Fund, the Childhood Apraxia of Speech Association (CASANA), 1151 Freeport Road, #243, Pittsburgh, PA 15038, or the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, 1275 York Avenue, New York, NY 10021.