Joseph L. N. (Norm) Violette passed away on January 2, 2008 after
a full and active life and noted and accomplished career. He was,
in the end, surrounded by his wife of fifty years, Bette, seven
children and eight grandchildren. Norm left behind a legacy of
engineering excellence and achievement, inspired instruction and
With a Bachelor’s Degree in Electrical Engineering and after
a post-grad stint at RPI, he continued onto a successful career
in the Air Force and as an independent consultant. His achievements
were singular and far-reaching and facilitated with the unparalleled
support of his wife.
He flew high and fast in F-102s in the late 1950s and flew perilously
close to danger during the Vietnam War in 1968, providing supplies
and ferrying soldiers in C-123s about the country during the Tet
Offensive, garnering the Distinguished Flying Cross on two ocassions.
He was checked out in C-47, T-33s, T-38s and several other aircraft.
He achieved the rank of Lt. Colonel before retiring in 1977 to
begin his independent engineering career.
Continuing his education, he earned a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering
from North Carolina State in 1971 and a Masters in Business Administration
from Auburn University in 1972. He was a NARTE Certified EMC Engineer
and gained the recognition from his peers in the IEEE EMC Society
with receipt of the 2004 Richard R. Stoddart Award for Outstanding
Performance. He was active in ANSI ASC C63™ committee work
and contributed to numerous EMC Society Chapters across the US
under the Society’s Distinguished Lecturer program.
|Bette and Norm Violette are shown
at a family gathering in 2006.
||The cake at the funeral reception
honoring Norm Violette was decorated to show his love for
solving electromagnetic equations.
One of Norm’s more notable accomplishments was designing
the lightning protection system for the Statue of Liberty during
the restoration of that grand sculpture in 1986. He continued
to be fascinated by and loved the engineering of lightning protection
systems, EMC, RF interference and the physical phenomena that
make up the core of the understanding of our industry.
Norm’s favorite things were learning, flying and the people
whom he knew and loved. Even to the end of his life, he continued
to push himself to learn something each day, whether it was a
refresher of his childhood catechism (in French) to reading tales
of Ty Cobb and Babe Ruth or plunging into the complexities of
quantum mechanics. Sports and the thrill of competition were innate.
Mostly he competed with himself, pushing harder and constantly
for self-improvement. He inspired the same in others and fostered
many others in their careers.
|Norm attended virtually every IEEE
International Symposium on EMC held annually, including the
50th Anniversary Symposium in Honolulu, Hawaii in July 2007.
He is shown visiting the exhibit hall with his wife Bette.
Note the signature grin he was famous for worldwide.
Those who knew Norm and worked and worshipped with him knew him
as a wonderful father, a devout practitioner of his faith, an
excellent engineer and a quintessential humorist with quips that
were never barbed. His love of God never interfered with his love
of learning and he never doubted those things that were natural
or supernatural, but was on a quest to understand more about both.
In that way, he taught us to reason critically about the world
and origins of things, but to hold onto the higher reasons and
motives that are unseen. “Seek truth and answers,”
defined his professional life, his faith and his nature.
He was interred with full military honors at Arlington National
Cemetery on February 8, 2008.
The EMC Board of Directors extends its condolences to the Violette
family and will miss one of its true contributors. EMC
The author of this article wishes to
thank the family of Norm Violette for providing much of the material
for this tribute. Special thanks are extended to Norm’s
son, Mike Violette, who contributed the photos and details of
his father’s illustrious career. For more information on
the life of Dr. Joseph L. N. (Norm) Violette, please visit www.wll.com/Memoriam