In Remembrance of Norb Socolowski
The SMTA was saddened to learn of the death of our Association’s first president, Norb Socolowski. Norb passed away on February 14, 2008 at his Las Vegas home. He was 85 and is survived by wife, Jean.
I met Norb many years ago; before I was involved in the SMTA. As an industry icon and solder expert, he was always willing to share information with others in our industry. He was a kind and generous man and such fun! As the SMTA’s first president, he spent many hours devoted to the association that he was so proud to be a part of. Long after his tenure as President (1985), he continued to support the SMTA with papers and presentations, and was always willing to respond to a technical question or share his wealth of information.
During the early years of SMI in San Jose, Norb and Jean would always stop by to visit and bring a treat for our staff members to share. At the time of our 20th anniversary I received a large (and well packed) box that contained a ceramic Wizard, which had been given as a speaker gift at the first SMT conferences. It sits on the file cabinet in my office and reminds me of the many contributions made by one of our early industry pioneers, Norb Socolowski.
Norb was manager of product development at Alpha Metals, Inc., and spent 18 years with the company (now Cookson Electronics) in development and engineering of solder assembly materials, focused on SMT and hybrid package assembly products. He had also worked at Thiokol Chemical Corporation and Curtiss-Wright Corp. Beyond the SMTA, he held industry memberships in ISHM and SME. Norb earned a bachelor's in mining engineering from South Dakota School of Mines and Technology and a bachelor's in industrial engineering from Stevens Institute of Technology. He remained active in the SMTA throughout his life, including his term as president, and also served as chairman of the IPC Solder Paste Specification Committee.
Prior to his retirement Norb lived in Denville, NJ where he served for 16 years on the City Council. Following retirement he and Jean divided their time between homes in Little Egg Harbor, NJ and Las Vegas. Norb suffered with Parkinson's disease and long-term diabetes. Those who knew Norb well knew his love of casinos. On February 14th, while in a wheel chair, he spent a few hours at the Tropicana playing his favorite game of poker on one of the machines. He went home, and passed away peacefully during the night.
Funeral services will be held on April 14, 2008, at the Presbyterian Church in Parsippany, N.J. The family has requested that donations in Norb’s memory be made to SMTA’s Charles Hutchins Educational Grant. The SMTA has lost a leader, and I have lost a friend. Norb will be missed by many of us, but memories that we shared will allow him to live on in the hearts and minds of many in our industry. The SMTA Board of Directors and our Staff extends our sincere sympathy to Jean Socolowski. If you would like to send her a card or note, it can be mailed to PMB 339, 4001 S. Decatur Blvd., Las Vegas, NV 89103.
JoAnn Stromberg, SMTA Administrator