Edmund Kenneth von Delden went home to be with his Lord and Savior on July 3, 2010, at age 87, at the University of Colorado Hospital in Aurora, Colorado.
Edmund K. von Delden was born to the proud parents of Helen Elise Nicholls von Delden and Florenz John von Delden on December 29,1932 in Los Angeles. Ed grew up in Highland Park and after graduating from high school, moved to Pasadena and earned his AA Degree in Industrial Technology from John Muir College in 1953.
Ed then joined the Army, received his basic training at Ft. Ord in California, and transferred to Camp Pendleton where he became a tank mechanic. In the summer of 1954, he was assigned to the 24th Infantry Division, 6th Tank Battalion in Korea. Ed served 16 months in Korea and was Honorably Discharged on January 6, 1956.
After returning home from the Army, Ed attended Glendale College and after two years of basic engineering, he enrolled at CalPoly University in Pomona and obtained a BSME (Bachelor of Science, Mechanical Engineering). While attending school at CalPoly, he worked part time at Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena working nights as an entry-level mechanical design draftsman where he quickly became hooked on the exciting world of rocketry. In 1961, Ed joined the rocket team at TRW/Space Technology Labs (STL) in Redondo Beach, and helped prepare a proposal to NASA to design, develop and deliver rocket engines for the Apollo Moon Program. He was on the design team that developed the Lunar Module Descent Engine (LMDE) that landed the astronauts on the Moon He later headed up the propulsion team for a surveillance satellite program for the Air Force.
In 1958, Ed married Sharon Chrisman and lived in Rosemead while attending CalPoly. They had three children together; Lisa born on February 18,1960 in Glendale, Marlaina born on December 18,1962 in Redondo Beach and Kurt born on February u, 1966 in Newport Beach. After 8 years of marriage, they divorced and while the children lived with Sharon, Ed got to see them on weekends and was able to do a lot of fun recreational things with them such as boating, camping and dune buggying.
In 1969, Ed met Jill Scolman at work and they married on October 25, 1969 Their first home was in Torrance and after many improvements and redoing the landscaping, the City of Torrance presented them with the Torrance Home Beautification award in 1975. Ed and Jill were interviewed by CNN’s Anne McDermott for a TV special on “Married People in Industry” that aired on February 20, 1984.
It was at the Harbor Christian Center in Wilmington, the church that Jill and Ed attended, that Ed’s love of flying came to fruition when the church bought a six passenger Cessna 206 to be used to support flying mission trips to Mexico. In 1976, Ed earned his instrument and commercial pilot’s license and for the next 15 years flew medical mission trips to Mexico in conjunction with Missions to Baja and Samaritan Aviation. It also included support of Rancho Santa Marta, an orphanage in San Vicente about 150 miles south of the California border. Later after retiring and moving to Colorado, Ed formed a nonprofit organization called Colorado AirLift Outreach (CALO) in 1999, flying eye doctors and volunteers to El Buen Pastor Hospital San Quintin, Baja, Mexico to perform eye care and cataract surgeries twice a year in the spring and fall. He also obtained his FAA Certified Mechanic license and worked at Cimarron Air, an airplane maintenance shop at the Montrose Airport. During this time, he joined the Montrose Civil Air Patrol (CAP) and for 10 years did search and rescue operations. He also went to work at this time as owner/representative for Scaled Technology Works to oversee the construction of a brand new factory to build corporate jets in Montrose and was a member of their engineering staff.
Ed had many hobbies mostly anything that went fast. On his list was a V8 engine waterskiing boat, a Corvair powered dune buggy (featured in Hot Rod magazine, Budget Corvair Sand Buggy, Part 1 & u, July/August 1975) and dragsters. In 1970, he wrote an article “New Concept for Fuelers” (published in Hot Rod Magazine, August 1970) that prompted drag race legend, “Big Daddy” Don Garlits to switch to a rear-engine car design, which revolutionized the sport. From 1970 to 1976, he wrote 15 articles for Hot Rod, Powerboat, Popular Performance Boat, Motorcyclist and CarCraft magazines. His interest also included land speed racing cars at Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah. This prompted his article “New Concepts for Advanced Land Speed Racing Car Design”, Hot Rod Magazine, August 2020) outlining concepts that could be the technology basis for the next generation of wheel-driven class LSR streamliners.
Ed and Jill loved outdoor recreation that included camping, waterskiing, dune bugging, jeeping, hiking and skiing. In 1997, they climbed 14,150 ft. Mt. Sneffels in the San Juan Mountains. Ed had previously climbed 14,496 ft. Mt. Whitney in California.
Ed is survived by his wife Jill von Delden, children Lisa von Delden, Marlaina Battle and Kurt von Delden, three grandchildren (Ryan, Alicia, Kenneth) and three great grandchildren (Aimee, Serenity, Jake) and brother Hugh von Delden (Sierra Madre, California).
Under the present COVID-19 circumstances, funeral services have been postponed until a “celebration of Ed’s life” can be held in the future. We will keep you informed.