Walter J. Sarjeant, UB professor, electrical engineer - The Buffalo News

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Walter J. Sarjeant, UB professor, electrical engineer

April 7, 1944 – April 2, 2015

Walter J. “Jim” Sarjeant of Williamsville, a University at Buffalo chair professor who worked at Los Alamos National Laboratory and on what eventually became the International Space Station, died Thursday in Avow Hospice in Naples, Fla., after a nearly yearlong battle with complications from pneumonia. He was 70.

Born in Strathroy, Ont., Mr. Sarjeant received bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees from the University of Western Ontario, in 1966, 1967 and 1971, respectively.

He worked at Lumonics Research and the National Research Council of Canada before being a staff member at Los Alamos from 1978 to 1981.

A faculty member and tenured professor at UB since 1981, Mr. Sarjeant was the James Clerk Maxwell General Dynamics Chair Professor of Energy Systems in the Department of Electrical Engineering. He was also director of the university’s Energy Systems Institute.

His work has been published more than 180 times. Mr. Sarjeant also co-authored a book on high-power electronics, was a fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and was a member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, among his many academic memberships.

Mr. Sarjeant also owned a patent for the fastest practical high voltage probe in existence.

He was a scientific adviser to many industrial and governmental agencies, including the Army, IBM, the Navy, the National Academy of Sciences and the Institute for Defense Analysis.

In 1991, he was named to a standing committee for the Space Station Freedom project, which eventually evolved into the International Space Station.

In 1999, he was named Paul Harris Fellow of Rotary International. He received the Oustanding Civilian Meritorious Service Award from the Secretary of the Army in the spring of 2001.

Mr. Sarjeant was predeceased by his wife, the former Ann Richards. He is survived by a daughter, Cheryl; a son, Eric; a brother, Robert; and one granddaughter.

A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. April 11 at Amigone Funeral Home, 5200 Sheridan Drive, Amherst.

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