Memorial of Dr. Ed Sickafus (1931 - 2018)
Editor: Toru Nakagawa (Osaka Gakuin Univ.)
|Posted on Oct. 31, 2019|
Editor's Note (Toru Nakagawa, Oct. 26, 2019)
Dr. Edward Nathan Sickafus passed away nearly a year ago, on November 15, 2018.
I noticed the sad news on July 5, 2019 as a result of Internet search, after wondering about no email response from him for several months. I sent an air mail to his deceased wife, Mrs. Mary Sue Sickafus, and got an email resonse from his elder son, Dr. Kurt Edward Sickafus on Aug. 3, 2019. I am sorry to be late in announcing this sad news to TRIZ/USIT community, because I was waiting for some more information from the family.
Remembering Dr. Ed Sickafus' work of developing USIT (Unified Structured Inventive Thinking) and its further extensions and his insightful papers, news letters, and books, I am planning to open the Dr. Ed Sickafus Memorial Archives in this "TRIZ Home Page in Japan", according to his permission I obtained 3 years ago.
Please contribute your tributes to Dr. Ed Sickafus to the present page.
Dr. Edward Nathan Sickafus (1931 - 2018) (Published in Heritage Newspapers on Nov. 21, 2018)
Sickafus, Edward Nathan (Ph.D.), age 87, of Grosse Ile, Michigan, passed away November 15, 2018, due to complications from an accidental fall.
Ed was born March 7, 1931 in St. Louis, Missouri to the late Edward Alton Sickafus and Thelma Marie Ditterline-Sickafus. Ed is preceded in death by sister Violet Eade.
He is survived by his beloved wife, Mary Sue (formerly Gist) Sickafus of 65 years and sons, Kurt and Karl. He leaves two grandchildren, twins Nathan and Natalie Sickafus, step-granddaughter Christina Keller, and niece Diane Holmes.
Ed graduated from Normandy High School, Normandy, Missouri in 1949 and then earned an associate degree from Southwest Baptist College in Bolivar, Missouri in 1952. Ed later earned both baccalaureate and master's degrees at The Missouri School of Mines and Metallurgy in Rolla, Missouri, followed by a doctoral degree in physics from the University of Virginia in Charlottesville in 1960.
Ed also served part-time as a scientist in the Ordnance Research Laboratory in Charlottesville. Following graduate school, Ed served as professor of physics at the University of Denver, then joined the research staff of the Ford Motor Company Scientific Laboratory in Dearborn in 1967.
He worked at Ford for 33 years as an experimental physicist and manager (manager of physics department, Ford IC research group in Colorado Springs and the sensors and actuators department).
Ed served as president of the American Vacuum Society, published more than 80 scientific papers and holds 15 patents.
Ed also developed an invention (problem solving) methodology known as Unified Structured Inventive Thinking (USIT, published in 1997). Ed taught USIT to Ford engineers and to students worldwide through a company he named NTELLECK.
Ed pursued numerous hobbies including photography, trout fishing, drawing and painting, architectural design (particularly his dream home in Grosse Ile), writing poetry, sign language (translator for the deaf at churches in Denver and Detroit), hiking and backpacking (Boy Scout assistant), spelunking, canoeing, SCUBA diving, sailing, bicycling (Ed completed multiple Michiganders), and international travel.
Funeral service will be Monday, November 19, at the Martenson Funeral Home, 3200 West Rd., Trenton at 11 am, followed by private family ceremony and internment in Grosse Ile Memorial Cemetery. Visitation will be at the Martenson Funeral Home from 3-9 pm on Sunday, November 18. Arrangements by The Trenton Chapel of The Martenson Family of Funeral Homes. To share a memory visit
Communications between Toru Nakagawa and the deceased family
Letter: Toru Nakagawa ==> Mrs. Mary Sue Sickafus (Jul. 5, 2019)
Dear Mrs. Mary Sue Sickafus, cc: Mr. Karl G. Sickafus,
Hello, how are you?
I am Toru Nakagawa, Japan, and have been an eager follower of Dr. Ed Sickafus, on his work of USIT.
I met Ed first in Nov. 1998 at a TRIZ Conference and attended at his 3-day USIT Seminar in Mar. 1999. Since then I have been studying USIT and teaching and extending it further in Japan.
Actually I met you and Ed in Tokyo in Jun. 1999, and later had an honor of staying one night at your Grosse Isle home. I have kept email communications with Ed for these 20 years. ....
But recently I was wondering why no responses from him for several months.
Tonight I tried to find some other communication routes to him. Through his sons, perhaps. I learned their names, Kurt and Karl, through Ed's emails on some occasions. So I searched in various ways in the Internet.
Then I searched in the net directly with the Keyword 'Edward N. Sickafus'. I noticed a photo of him in the images section. Clicking the photo and looking at the source page, I was surprised very much. It was a page in Heritage Newspapers.
I learned: Dr. Ed Sickafus passed away November 15, 2018, due to complications from an accidental fall.
I am very sorry for this sad news.
It was unbelievable, because he had been healthy and active even for these recent years. ...
Pains in legs, accidental falls, mistakes in swallowing, car accidents, etc. are all risky for us, when we are getting old year after year. I myself is now 78 years old.
How are you living these days, Mary Sue? Are you still living in Grosse Ile alone? Or are you living with your son's family?
Since I have found the postal addresses at Grosse Isle, and that of Karle Sickafus at West Chester, I am sending this letter at the two addresses.
If this mail arrives at your hand or at Karle, could you please inform me of your and Karl's email addresses? I very much like to communicate with Karl via email concerning to the works by Ed on USIT, Heuristics, and other recent works.
I am very sad. You and all your family must be sad and sorrow.
I am sending you and your family my deep condolences.
Thanking Ed for his contributions in the field of inventive thinking and for his encouragement and warm friendship with us for these 20 years,
Best wishes, sincerely,
Toru Nakagawa, Dr., Professor Emeritus, Osaka Gakuin University
Editor of the "TRIZ Home Page in Japan": http://www.osaka-gu.ac.jp/php/nakagawa/TRIZ/eTRIZ/
3-1-13 Eirakudai, Kashiwa, Chiba 277-0086, Japan. Phone & FAX: +81-4-7167-7403
Email: Kurt Edward Sickafus ==> Toru Nakagawa (Aug. 3, 2019)
Toru, I am one of two sons of Ed and Mary Sue Sickafus.
My mother (Mary Sue) informed me that you wrote a very wonderful letter to her about Ed and your sadness at his passing last year.
My mom told me that you would like to see some of his last works.
I have attached two files that my dad was working on the week he passed away. He was scheduled to give a lecture in my crystallography class at the University of Tennessee the week he passed away.
I do not have any of the files that my dad was working on regarding USIT during his last years. I hope to go to Detroit soon and look for some of these files.
Dad also wrote a memoir that he finished in 2018. I hope my mom can send this to you. If not, I will try to obtain an electronic copy of the memoir to forward to you.
I am extremely grateful that you wrote to my mom and expressed your grief at his passing. Your sentiments mean a great deal to my mom and to me.
I look forward to keeping in contact with you and I hope we can meet sometime in the near future.
All the best! Kurt
Kurt Sickafus, Director of Graduate Studies, Department of Materials Science & Engineering, The University of Tennessee
Email: Toru Nakagawa ==> Kurt E. Sickafus (Aug. 3, 2019)
Dear Kurt, Thank you for your message.
It is great that I finally get a direct connection with you and Ed's family.
Ed wrote me he was going to give a talk at a university about his 50 years of physics research. I now understand it's your university and unfortunately he passed away just before giving the talk.
May I ask you two things?
(1) I would like to send the sad news that Dr. Ed Sickafus passed away last November to the people who know him and his work on USIT, by posting a memorial page in my Web site "TRIZ Home Page in Japan".
So please give me some information suitable to be posted in the page (no limit in the length).
(2) 3-4 years ago I asked Ed to give me a special permission that I open a repository of Ed Sickafus' works related to USIT as an annex to my Web site.
That is for the purpose of keeping alive all his insightful works in the academic and practitioner community in USIT, TRIZ, and Creativity.
I also asked him for his permission of my translating any of his works into Japanese and posting in my Web site.
He agreed with my proposal and to send his documments to me later.
But he also said and tried to re-build (after several times of troubles in his PCs and networks) his own USIT Web site.
It is done partly but not completed.
As you see in my Web site, we have posted many of Ed's works, including USIT NL, in Japanese translation.
When you go to Grosse Ile, please check his many works in digital form.
I wish the repository become a good memorial of Dr. Ed Sickafus.
He is one of several 'teachers' in my whole life.
Please send my best wishes to your mother.
Best wishes, Toru
PS. I attach my letter to your mother of Jul. 5, 2019.
Our Last Email Communications with Dr. Ed Sickafus
Email: Dr. Ed Sickafus ==> Toru Nakagawa (Sept. 25, 2018)
Hi Toru. Good to see your email.
Dear Ed, Glad to hear from you, but I can't open your file nor any message. Toru (Sept. 24, 2018)
However, it looks like old age is catching up with me. I can't remember what the email you received could have been about.
As I tell everyone don't get old. 87+ is pretty old.
At the moment, I have too many irons in the fire. The main one is a lecture I'm preparing for late Oct. to deliver at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville.
It's a selection of examples of research in solid state physics that I have done in the past 50 years.
I got quite a bit of research to pull together; e.g. internal friction in MnCu alloys, metal whiskers, surface morphologies of microscopic platelets, Auger spectroscopy, and low energy diffraction.
But, I'm enjoying it.
Hope you're well and enjoying life. Ed
Email: Toru Nakagawa ==> Dr. Ed Sickafus (Sept. 25, 2018)
Dear Ed, Thank you for your message.
I am happy to learn that your are so active to be preparing for a lecture about your 50 years of research in solid state physics.
You are one of several teachers of mine in the life. I heartily wish you healthy and young in mind.
Even though I have some weak points in my health and feel getting weak in memory, I am trying to do my best in my work, just following your path.
Currently, I am working on WTSP Project (World TRIZ Sites Project) and the issue of 'Liberty vs Love' and Ethics as you see in TRIZ Home Page in Japan.
I wish to keep operating my Home Page for 10 more years!
Best wishes, Toru
Messages in Memory of Late Dr. Ed Sickafus (Please contribute your messages)
Prof. D. Daniel Sheu (National Tsing Hua University, Taiwan) (Oct. 28, 2019) (Posted: Oct. 31, 2019)
Dear Prof. Nakagawa, Thank you for the information.
I am sad to hear the news. Dr. Ed. Sickafus is a great person professionally and individually. He made great contribution to the Systematic Innovation. We all miss him very much.
D. Daniel Sheu
Plan of the Dr. Ed Sicakfus' Memorial Archives
Email: Toru Nakagawa ==> Dr. Ed Sickafus (Oct.12, 2016)
Dear Ed, Glad to have contact with you again after a few months of interval.
I notice your particular message:
> Another issue I should mention is that, as a result of my age, I'm planning to shut down my website -- nothing specific yet.
I and many more people are appreciating your work and activities for many years particularly on USIT and your further extensions.
Your work has inspired me much for many years since I first met you in Nashua at the First TRIZ Conference organized by Ellen Domb, in Nov. 1998.
Then I attended at your USIT Seminar in March 1999 just after the TRIZCON99.
And I and Masako met you and Mary Sue in Tokyo in June, 1999.
... I remember many more happy meetings and communications with you.
Before you shut down your web site, I would like to ask you a favor for me heartily:
Could you please allow me to keep open to public all your works related to USIT and its extension?
I would like to restore them as Dr. Ed Sickafus Archives on USIT inside my "TRIZ Home Page in Japan".
I would like to make your contributions clear and to help people learn from you in future.
I am 10 years younger than you and want to be active just like you as long as possible.
Of course, I also have to think how I can find anybody who is willing to keep my whole site accessible after me.
-- In a few years? in 10 years?
Wishing you and Mary Sue good health and happiness for many more years!!
Email: Dr. Ed Sickafus ==> Toru Nakagawa (Oct.12, 2016)
Dear Toru, I am flattered by your comments. Thank you.
Of course you have my permission regarding --
'Could you please allow me to keep open to public all your works related to USIT and its extension?'
In fact, you make me rethink my sudden disappearance and consider finishing a couple of brief essays that I have made some notes on.
My website was rendered useless by some ill-minded hacker and it has had no traffic for a couple of years.
In my younger days, I wrote all of the code for the u-sit.net.
It was part of my self-education in computer programming.
I'm a bit older now and coding, along with debugging, has become more slow and tedious.
If I can come up with a solution, I would be encouraged to maintain the website a bit longer.
Thanks to you, I have had a very interesting letter from Mr. Mallison [South Africa].
He's interested in learning USIT and incorporating it in his teaching with TRIZ.
It sounds like the same thing you've done.
I will be answering him with a very positive response to his ideas.
All the best Toru, it's good to be back in contact.
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