Walter Carl Yeager was born near Richland, Ind., to Carl W. and Emma Virginia Hayford Yeager and died recently at the age of 87 after complications from a soft palate plasmacytoma.

Walt earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Aeronautical Engineering from Purdue University in 1958 and a certificate in Propulsion and Power Conversion from UCLA in 1970. He was a licensed Safety Engineer in California.

Walt began his 40-year engineering career at Douglas Aircraft in Santa Monica, Calif., where he worked on the liquid oxygen tank vent and relief valve for the Thor missile, and on the design of propulsion for the Skybolt missile. He then spent several years activating Atlas missile bases in Kansas and Nebraska before working on the Nuclear Engine Rocket Vehicle Application project for interplanetary space vehicles at the Bendix Corporation in South Bend, Ind.. Returning to California for the second time to stay, Walt worked at Hughes Aircraft on vernier propulsion for the Surveyor spacecraft and thruster rockets for synchronous orbit satellites. The remainder of his career was spent at Garrett AiResearch, which was a wholly owned subsidiary of the Signal Corporation, and which eventually became Honeywell in the Los Angeles, Calif., area.

Walt retired in 1999 after 30 years of service. During that time, he worked on a business jet advanced turbofan propulsion engine and turbochargers for small aircraft as an engineer. He then became Director of Product Integrity and later was a Program Manager for emergency power and start systems in over 27 aircraft programs, which included the hydrazine F-16 emergency power units and the U2 in-flight start systems. These projects involved travel to Asia, Europe, and the Middle East. After retiring, he kept busy by doing engineering consulting, pursuing his computer and electronics hobbies, and actively managing his farm in Indiana.

Walt and his family lived in Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif., since 1964. He met his wife, Elizabeth Posey, during orientation week at Indiana University, and they married after she graduated in 1957. Walt will be fondly remembered by his family, and for his dedication and leadership in his local Rancho Palos Verdes Homeowner’s Association.

Walt was survived by his wife, Elizabeth “Betty” Posey Yeager who has also recently passed away. He is survived by daughters, Joan (Greg) Tennison, and Claire Yeager; granddaughters, Samantha (Luke) Moeller, and Shelley Tennison; as well as great-grandsons, Cole Herrington and Connor Moeller. He also leaves behind his dear sister, Dr. M. Barbara Backer who still lives in Indiana; as well as numerous nieces and nephews.

Walt was preceded in death by his daughter, Susan; and his sister, Carolyn Ishida.

Donations may be made in Walter’s name to the Purdue for Life Foundation at