Will McAdam, 89, electrical engineer, WWII vet

Will McAdam, 89, formerly of Worcester, an electrical engineer and decorated World War II veteran, died of pneumonia Wednesday, Jan. 26, at Normandy Farms Estates in Blue Bell.

Mr. McAdam grew up in Cleveland and earned a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering from what is now Case Western Reserve University.

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During World War II, he was an Army officer with a mobile radar unit in Europe. He fought in the Battle of the Bulge in Belgium and was awarded a Bronze Star.

He never shared details why he had been honored for valor, son-in-law Steve Adams said. "In the 40 years that I knew him he might have spoken about his war experiences twice. Once he said he never wanted to go camping because he had enough of sleeping outside in the Army," Adams said.

After his discharge, Mr. McAdam joined Leeds & Northrup, a maker of high-tech instruments in North Wales. While with the firm, he earned a master's degree in electrical engineering from the University of Pennsylvania and taught at the Spring Garden Institute in Philadelphia.

Mr. McAdam was responsible for numerous patents at Leeds & Northrup, including a 1972 patent for a tympanic membrane (ear) thermometer.

He retired as director of research operations in 1981 and then worked for several years for a company that developed technology for automatic teller machines.

Mr. McAdam was a violinist with the Ambler Symphony Orchestra, a ham radio operator, a travel enthusiast, and a skilled woodworker.

He made cherry and walnut coffee tables and bookshelves with beautiful finishes for relatives and crafted a hutch from a walnut tree that had fallen down on their property for his daughter Elizabeth and son-in-law.

"Will had tremendous patience and set high standards for everything he did," Steve Adams said.

Mr. McAdam is survived by his wife of 64 years, Evelyn Warren McAdam; daughters Elizabeth Adams and Peggy Hager; a sister; and five grandchildren.

A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Monday, Jan. 31, at First Presbyterian Church, 4 S. Ridge Ave., Ambler, where Mr. McAdam was an elder. The family will receive friends afterward.

Memorial donations may be made to the Good Samaritan Fund of Normandy Farms Estates, 9000 Twin Silo Dr., Blue Bell, Pa. 19422.


Contact staff writer Sally A. Downey at 215-854-2913 or sdowney@phillynews.com.