exploits of his three growing grandsons, just as he relished offering the obligatory sage advice from “grumpy gramps.” And there were few family events at which he didn’t offer a topical poem or limeric—sometimes gently gibing, but just as often wittily self-mocking—to liven up the festivities.
Indeed, even though English was not his native tongue, he became a real admirer and master of the language. His prose was elegant, but his poetry—whether on scientific themes or philosophical musings or family matters—was his pastime and his real pride and joy. For years he authored the “Poet’s Corner” in the IEEE Antennas and Propagation Magazine, penning rhymes about waves and computers and conferences and the comradeship of colleagues. For a symposium luncheon honoring his birthday in 1990, he wrote about himself:
You’ve been a gadfly through critique
With questions often sharp, direct.
While this may not engender love
With those who’ve worked up close with you,
Heated debates have spurred the quest
To find the route that formulates
A controversial issue best.
And as you inch along that path,
Your sparring can become intense.
Yet close encounters of this kind
Have transformed colleagues into friends.
In his later years, as his body became increasingly feeble, his mind remained sharp, engaged, and intrigued by life’s mysteries. He appreciated each day, but also was well aware of his mortality, and was moved to comment on it from time to time. The following poem, written a few years before his death at 81, provides a small window into how he contemplated his passing from the stage: