I said goodbye to a friend today.
This morning was the funeral for Dr. Christopher L. Reed of Lockheed Martin Aeronautics in Fort Worth who recently passed away at age 61.
Chris was the first person hired when then General Dynamics created their new CFD group in the early 1980s. Chris may be best known for being the main architect, developer, and maintainer of LMAERO’s Falcon CFD code. If you’ve seen any Lockheed Martin CFD solutions for the F-16, F-22, or F-35 the odds are pretty good you’re seeing a Falcon solution.
I first met Chris in 1984 when I hired into GD right out of school and we began working closely together in 1987 when I transferred into the CFD group from Propulsion Analysis.
Chris’ was the first Texas wedding I attended and being a transplanted Midwesterner there was a lot of explaining required about the different customs and styles. There was also a party at his house (I believe it was their first child’s first birthday) involving an infamous wiffle ball incident. And back in the day, everyone in the CFD group had a nickname and Chris’ was Barney because he carpooled to work with a guy nicknamed Fred.
The eulogies today recalled Chris’ professional accomplishments, his dedication to his family, and his faith. One speaker reminded me of Chris’ habit of replying to you with the raise of one eyebrow (which I seemed to get from him often). But what I’ll remember most is Chris’ sense of humor.
After the service, several of us – original CFD group members, new CFD group members who are creating a legacy all their own, and those of us who have moved on to new endeavors – went out for lunch. Hearing our recollections of Chris and how he had influenced us made me think back to those early days when I was 25 and a bunch of guys whom I consider to be friends created a CFD capability from scratch.
Thanks for all the puns, Chris.