With the passing of Rolf Remshardt, IEEE has lost one of its most highly valued volunteers. His sudden death, only weeks after he was a special guest at the 50th Anniversary celebrations of Region 8 in Madrid, has come as a terrible shock to his many friends across IEEE. For almost 30 years he provided an outstanding example of selfless and ethical service to the Institute. He was a major influence in policy- making: eight regional Directors benefited from his wise and friendly advice. His stewardship, as Treasurer, of the Region’s finances for 15 years enabled a huge expansion of its activities, underpinned by the substantial reserves he built up by careful investment and budget controls.
Rolf Remshardt earned a Diplom-Ingenieur degree and a PhD in electrical engineering from the Technical University in Stuttgart, Germany. He began his career at IBM in 1967, working as a development engineer, designing integrated circuits and semiconductor chips, and spent 2 years with IBM in the USA. During his nearly 30 years with the company he held several development and management positions.
Rolf joined IEEE as a Senior Member in 1983, and was elected Region 8 Treasurer. His IBM boss at the time, Director Walter Proebster, had persuaded Rolf to take on the job without warning him about the time commitment involved. Nevertheless, Rolf quickly demonstrated his skill in managing the complexities of dealing with many different currencies and exchange controls, in an era before credit cards became universal.
He was elected as Region 8 Director (1999-2000) at a time when there was a rapid expansion in IEEE activity in Eastern Europe and the Middle East. Under his wise counsel the problems of IEEE membership in the ‘low-income’ countries were dealt with very effectively. This laid the foundations for the success of the enlarged Region 8 as it reached its 50th year.
Rolf also served on many IEEE Boards and committees, including the IEEE Foundation as a Director and Vice-President Projects.
He was honoured by IEEE through the Larry K Wilson Transnational Award (2002) and the RAB Achievement Award (2006).
We mourn the loss of one of IEEE’s finest volunteers, and share the grief of his wife Renate and son Marc. We will all miss Rolf, as a friend and colleague, and as a happy companion.
Kurt R. Richter Charles W Turner
1991-1992 IEEE Director Region 8 1993-1994 IEEE Director Region 8