CHAUNCEY GUY SUITS, 85; GE VICE PRESIDENT AND RESEARCHER

Section: OBITUARIES,  Page: B11

Date: Friday, August 16, 1991

Chauncey Guy Suits, 85, of Crosswinds, Pilot Knob, Washington County, formerly of Schenectady, died at his home Wednesday after a long illness.


Mr. Suits had served as vice president and director of research for the General Electric Co. from 1945 to 1965. Mr. Suits was born in Oshkosh, Wis. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin in 1927, where he received a B.A. degree in physics and mathematics. While doing his graduate work there, he worked as a consultant in the U.S. Forest Products Laboratory in Madison, Wis. He was awarded an exchange fellowship at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, Switzerland.


In 1930, Mr. Suits became a research physicist on the staff of the GE Research Laboratory. His early experiments and measurements helped lay the foundation for basic understanding of electric arc behavior. He became assistant to the director of the laboratory in 1940 and was elected vice president and director of research in 1945.


During World War II, Mr. Suits served in the Office of Scientific Research and Development. In 1942, he took charge of one of the 18 research divisions of the National Defense Committee. As a radio coordinator, he guided the activities of more than 1,000 scientists and engineers employed by its contractors on the $81 million task of countering the German and Japanese radar systems.


For this wartime work, he received in 1948 both the Presidential Medal for Merit from the United States and the King's Medal for Service in the Cause of Freedom from Great Britain.


At the close of the war in 1945, Mr. Suits returned to General Electric, where he directed the extensive post-war expansion of the company's scientific research activities. He directed the planning and construction of the new home for the General Electric Research Laboratory on a 600-acre site on the outskirts of Schenectady. The site was dedicated in 1950. Among those innovations he directed were the first reproducible process for synthesizing diamonds and the first commerical process for mass-prodcuing industrial diamonds.


In 1946, Mr. Suits became responsible for GE's extensive work for the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission, which included the development of nuclear power plants.


Throughout his career, Mr. Suits was vitally interested in the training of scientists and engineers and played a major role in interpreting scientific and technological activities for the layman. He had also lectured and presented many papers. He contributed 80 papers to scientific journals, including 30 on arcs alone. A collection of his speeches was published in 1965 by John Wiley & Sons.


Mr. Suits was awarded 77 U.S. patents for his inventions in electric arcs, non-linear circuits, and other areas.


Mr. Suits received numerous honors for his achievements, including the Industrial Research Institute Medal in 1962; the American Society for Metals Medal for the Advancement of Research in 1966; and the Frederik


Philips Award from the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers in 1974.


Mr. Suits was awarded a honorary degree of Doctor of Science from Union College in 1944, Hamilton College in 1946, Drexel Institute in 1955, and Marquette University in 1959. He received a honorary degree of Doctor of Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.


Mr. Suits was a member of the National Academy of Sciences and one of 25 charter members of the National Academy of Engineering. He was a fellow and member of numerous other societies.


Following his retirement from GE in 1965, Mr. Suits served as a consultant on industrial research management. At that time, he moved from Schenectady to what previously had been his summer home on Lake George.


Survivors include his wife, Laura Emma Struckmeyer Suits; two sons, David G. Suits of Lexington, Ohio, and James C. Suits of Los Gatos, Calif.; five grandchildren and a great-grandchild.


A memorial service will be held 2 p.m. Tuesday in the James F. Singleton Funeral Home Inc., 314 Bay Road in Queensbury.


Contributions may be made to the Lake George Association Fund, P.O. Box 408, Lake George, NY 12845.