George Gallup Silberberg

George Gallup SilberbergGeorge Gallup Silberberg died with his beloved wife Priscilla by his side on Sunday, July 8, 2018 at his home in Ridgecrest, California. He was 93. George was known by many in the Indian Wells Valley as he was a pioneer at China Lake. He was very active with service organizations in the community, and, most importantly, the patriarch of a loving family who, having been influenced by his example, have pursued public service careers and who have contributed significantly to the community as well.

George was born on September 28, 1924, in Worcester, Massachusetts, to Leon Isaac and Ethel Silberberg. He had four sisters and was the youngest of his siblings. His father owned the Massachusetts Electric Company and when the business began to grow, the family moved to Cambridge to be closer to Boston. Although he was accepted to MIT, George attended Purdue University. Later, however, George would be hired by MIT to work on the Manhattan Project.

George had met his wife Priscilla (Pat) while working part time at a hotel in New Hampshire one summer. He often reflected on their chance meeting recalling that the first time he saw her he said to himself, “That is the person—I want to spend the rest of my life with her.” However, Pat’s father would not allow George to marry her until he made $25 a week. George moved to Pasadena, California in hopes of finding work at Cal Tech where his sister’s husband was pursuing a PhD. Upon arrival, he was encouraged to go to the Naval Ordinance Testing Station (NOTS) where there was more opportunity to find work. His first day of service at “NOTS” was on May 4, 1945. He was hired as a general helper and made .76 cents an hour. On August 14, 1945, when WWII ended, George had to take an exam to become civil service rated. His assessment landed him as a SP-4 which made exactly $25 per week. He immediately wrote Pat’s father and the two were married in August, 1946.

George worked at China Lake from 1945 until his retirement in 1980. In that time, he is credited with making major contributions in developing ground breaking technology. Specifically, George specialized in photography and film. Among many other accomplishments, some of the most significant inventions that George contributed significantly to were the “Gooney Bird” camera tracking mount, the FATCAT trajectory-type data, the process of microwaving images, and, most notably, shuttered video technology (slow motion video playback). Despite these incredible contributions, George has stated that the career accomplishments he is most proud of include climbing Mount Ararat (Noah’s Arc), having never lost any test data over his entire career, and the fact that he went from starting as a “general worker” to earning the prestigious William B. McClean Award during his illustrious career.

In addition to his D.O.D. service, George contributed many ways to the community. While the All Faith Chapel had not yet been built, George’s first day attending the church was Sunday, May 6, 1945. He and his wife Pat have been faithful servants for the past 73 years. They have known every Chaplain to work at the base. George was also an avid musician. Coming from a family of musicians, he was an accomplished flute player. In addition, he was one of the early leaders of the Indian Wells Valley Concert Association. Other community contributions include volunteering at the “city help desk,” Meals on Wheels (Inyokern), the Historic Society, and as a member of the board for AltaOne Federal Credit Union.

Although his professional accomplishments are distinguished, he is most proud of the family legacy and heritage he leaves behind. George is survived by his wife whom he loved so dearly for more than 72 years, Priscilla Silberberg, son Daryl (Jennifer), daughter Deborah (Nick), son Timothy (Allison), and son Kevin (Dawn). He leaves behind seven grandchildren Daryl, Jr. (Mary), Jessica (Bryan), Jason (Charlotte), Kristen, Andrew (Cheri), Aaron (Kate), and Jenna (Ethan). He has 16 great grandchildren and 3 great-great grandchildren.

A memorial will be held on Saturday, July 14, 2018 at 10:30 AM at the Desert Christian Center. A reception will be held immediately following the service. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to the China Lake Navy Museum, Maturango Museum, or the Historical Society.

— Submitted by the family of George Silberberg

Story First Published: 2018-07-12