Simon-RamoNot long after leaving Howard Hughes’ fledgling Hughes Aircraft Co. and starting an aerospace firm in Los Angeles in 1953, Simon Ramo received a call from President Dwight D. Eisenhower.

Dr. Ramo, the chief architect of America’s intercontinental ballistic missile system and an aerospace pioneer who helped shape Southern California into the nation’s center for high-tech weapons research, died June 27 at his home in Santa Monica, Calif. He was 103.

His son, Jim Ramo, confirmed the death but did not provide a cause.

Dr. Ramo was a California Institute of Technology whiz kid who co-founded aerospace giant TRW Inc., and in his late 80s, brokered one of the biggest mergers ever in the defense industry.

(Dr. Ramo graduated from the University of Utah in 1933 with a bachelor’s in electrical engineering. A scholarship fund was established in 1998 by Dr. Ramo as the Simon Ramo Scholarship Endowed Fund in the U’s College of Engineering.)

Often called the “R” in TRW or just “Si” to friends and family, Dr. Ramo helped transform the region’s aerospace industry from metal-bending aircraft manufacturing to the world’s epicenter for sophisticated weapons research.

Although he officially retired from the aerospace industry in 1978, he continued to help lead major space and weapons developments and remained an active consultant to aerospace executives and an adviser to presidents, Cabinet members and Congress.

Read full story in The Washington Post . . .