Bernard G. "Dino" Ponseggi passed away on July 2 after a battle with cancer and heart disease. Born September 5, 1925, he was 80 years old. After growing up in New Jersey, he enlisted in the Navy after high school and saw combat in the European theater during World War II on the destroyer USS Edison. After the war he attended college at Bergen County Junior College and Brooks Institute of Photography in Santa Barbara. After marrying his high-school sweetheart, Norma, in 1951, he brought his family to the San Francisco Bay Area and started work in the photo technology branch of the Ames Research Center in 1956. Shortly thereafter, Ames Research Center became part of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).
During his 32 years with NASA, Dino worked on a variety of important NASA programs including the Viking and Pioneer programs, the Earth Resource Aircraft Project (ERAP), the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo programs as well as early space shuttle work. While working at NASA, Dino Ponseggi became active in SPIE. He held numerous local and national positions in SPIE, including president (1970-1972). He was made a Fellow of the Society in 1977, and received the SPIE President's Award in 1982.
"SPIE has lost a very good friend," said Sue Davis, SPIE Director of Special Projects, who worked with Ponseggi during his years of activity with the Society. "He truly was one in a million and I personally will miss his infectious smile and generous soul."
In addition to his professional life, Dino was an avid chef and loved to cook for his family and friends. He retired to San Diego in 1988 to be closer to his son, daughter-in-law and grandchildren. During the past 18 years he was active in the Sons of Italy in both the La Costa dei Fiori and Fratellanza Garibaldini Lodges. Dino is survived by his wife of 55 years, Norma, his son Larry (Marilyn) and his grandchildren Heather and Marc. A funeral mass will be on Friday, July 7, at 3 pm at Church of St. Luke, 1980 Hillsdale Road, El Cajon, CA. Interment will be at Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery on July 18 at 1 pm. Ponseggi requested that memorials be made in his name to SPIE, The International Society for Optical Engineering, P.O. Box 10, Bellingham, WA 98227 USA.