Photo Credit: Newsday File/Thomas Koeniges
Alexander D. Alexandrovich, an engineer and executive at Grumman during the glory days of the Apollo lunar lander and the E-2C and F-14 aircraft programs, died Monday at age 88 after a long battle with Alzheimer's disease.
Alexandrovich, the son of Russian immigrants, was born and raised in lower Manhattan and joined Grumman in 1963 as assistant to the vice president for engineering.
He retired in 1989 as president of the Space Systems Division, where he sought to rebuild the corporation's presence in the space program, which had waned since the $1 billion Lunar Excursion Module program in the 1960s and early 70s.
Colleague Richard Dunne, a longtime Grumman public relations executive, remembered Alexandrovich as a quiet man who favored bow ties and was dedicated to his work. Dunne said Grumman had as many as 25,000 Long Island employees in Bethpage and other locations during Alexandrovich's time there. The company, now part of Northrop Grumman, has about 1,600 local workers now.
"He was an engineer's engineer," Dunne said. "Not given to flamboyancy, he was involved with whatever he was doing and completely dedicated to it."
Family members said that, mostly for recreation, Alexandrovich played the domra, a stringed instrument, in a six-piece band called Balalaika Russe, with other men of Russian background. "They played many gigs and weddings and events through the years (even made a CD or two) from Washington, D.C., to Massachusetts," his stepson, Jon Diat of Manhattan, said in an email.
Norman Lewin, another Grumman engineer who retired in 1990 as senior vice president for technical operations, said most of Alexandrovich's work involved navigation and communications systems, radars and other electronics for programs such as the F-14 Navy fighter and E-2C Navy surveillance plane.
Lewin, who now lives in Florida, said he worked for Alexandrovich in the 1970s. "He was a person you could respect, speak to, look up to," he said.
Alexandrovich held a bachelor's of engineering degree from North Carolina State University and a master's of electrical engineering from Union College in Schenectady.
He served in the Army infantry during World War II and was to be buried Wednesday at Calverton National Cemetery. A service was scheduled for Tuesday night at St. John the Theologian Orthodox Church in Shirley.
In addition to his stepson, survivors include his wife, Jeanne; his children, Marsha Alexandrovich of Fairfax, Va., Peter Alexandrovich of Rochester and Joanne King of Evansville, Ind; a stepdaughter, Valerie King of Holbrook; and two grandchildren. His first wife, Pauline, predeceased him.