Eugene Beach Canfield

Eugene Beach Canfield, age 89, died peacefully after a courageous battle with Alzheimer’s disease, Monday, June 23, 2014.

He is survived by his loving wife of 65 years, Virginia; a daughter, Barbara, Walton, N.Y.; sons: Donald and his wife Isabel, Apalachin, N.Y., Robert and his wife Valerie, Vestal, N.Y.; grandchildren: Alisha and Shari Canfield, Vestal, N.Y., Brandon Canfield, Apalachin, N.Y.; brother-in-law John Hall and his wife Shirley, and their children Randall Hall, Williamsville, N.Y., and Janet Howse and her husband Rich, Sterling, Va., and many good friends in Pittsfield, Mass., and Jamestown, N.Y.

Eugene graduated in 1946 from Syracuse University with a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering at age 21 after an accelerated education program during World War II and was a member of the Engineering Honor Society, Tau Beta Pi, and the Professional Engineering Fraternity, Theta Tau. He worked for the General Electric Company for 38 years in Schenectady, N.Y., Pittsfield, Mass., and Johnson City, N.Y., where he obtained many patents and worked on the F18 fighter, F117A Stealth Fighter, and many other military programs. He authored a textbook on Control Systems Engineering and retired in 1984 from GE as Control Systems manager at the Johnson City, N.Y., facility.

He was instrumental in the founding of the Binghamton University Watson School of Engineering and taught Control Systems Engineering there for two years from 1984-86. He was considered an expert in the area of jet engines and was called on several times to provide expert testimony during civil lawsuits involving jet engines. Eugene enjoyed travel and traveled to many world locations with his wife including Egypt, Libya, Greece, Turkey, Italy, Germany, Russia, China, Brazil, Hawaii, Alaska, Churchill, Canada, India, Argentina and Antarctica. He integrated his great artistic abilities in nature photography with his travel experiences and presented many photographic programs on his travels over the years, and had a photograph published in a travel magazine.

In consistency with his Christian beliefs, he encouraged and helped a woman obtain a college education to improve her life and life’s outlook. He was considered an expert in the area of Civil War research and artillery, owned a substantial Civil War research library, was featured in a Jamestown, N.Y., news article in the 1990s, and authored several research articles for various Civil War publications.

During recovery of the Civil War ironclad, Monitor, he was called in to help identify the artillery found in the turret. He also enjoyed sports cars and owned several classic models over the years. The family wishes to express thanks to the staff of the Kendal Nursing Home for their care and thoughtfulness in Eugene’s final days.

Funeral services will be held Saturday at noon from the Allen Memorial Home, 511-513 East Main St., with the Rev. Janet Abel officiating. Burial will be in Vestal Park Cemetery, Vestal, N.Y. The family will receive friends at the Allen Memorial Home Saturday from 10:30 a.m. until service time at noon.

In lieu of flowers, donations in Eugene’s name may be made to the Alzheimer’s Association, 401 Hayes Ave., Endicott, NY 13760, or the charity of one’s choice.