who knew how to inspire people to do their best. In spite of the highly classified nature of his work, he received a good deal of public recognition for his many accomplishments. In 1979, President Carter awarded him the National Security Medal, and, in 1980, at the age of 44, he was elected to the National Academy of Engineering.
What I remember most fondly about Les were the dinners his wife Eleanor prepared for us at his house and playing “Space Cadet” with the Dirks’ children. Les and his wife raised three wonderful children, Anthony, Jason, and Elizabeth. Tragically, Eleanor lost her gallant battle with cancer in 1987.
In 1990, Les married Janet Church, who survives him. Janet recalls that he enjoyed having his children visit, and she remembers particularly his happiness in 1991 when his son Anthony and his wife Ann brought their one-month old son, his first grandchild to visit. Les was an avid reader, enjoyed all kinds of music, and was a frequent bicyclist and hiker.
Les retired from the CIA in 1980 and moved to California to join the Hughes Aircraft Communications Satellite Organization, headed at the time by his distinguished predecessor in the CIA, Dr. Albert C. Wheelon. In 1991, the CIA named one of its buildings the Dirks-Duckett Wing after Les and another of his predecessors, Carl Duckett. Les died on August 7, 2001. I miss him, and I mourn him.