School 21

Arthur D. Sills

May 11, 1935 ~ January 28, 2021 (age 85)


Arthur Dickson Sills, Ph.D. (85) of Laurel, MD passed away peacefully.  He is survived by his wife of 54 years, Diane Sills, his daughter, Janice Sills Smith, his son, Dan Sills, his daughter-in-law, Annie Sills; his grandchildren:  Michael Smith, Mathew Smith and Brooke Sills, his sister-in-law, Fran Scanlon-Sills and his nephews:  James A. Sills and Ken Sills. 

He is preceded in death by his mother and father, Marion and Vivian Sills; his mother-in-law and father-in-law, Florence and George Muller and his brother, Captain James S. Sills.

Art was born and raised in Miami Beach, FL.  He attended the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta as a cooperative student, working at the Norfolk Naval Shipyard in VA.  He received a BSEE in 1957.

Art attended the University of MD on a part-time basis under government sponsorship while he worked for the Department of Defense at the National Security Agency at Fort Meade.  He was a contract monitor responsible for transmission line development for cryogenic circuitry until 1963. 

Art received two Master’s degrees from the University of MD:  An MSEE in 1959 and a MAMath in 1963.

Art received a fellowship award from the Department of Defense to pursue a Ph.DEE at Penn State University in 1964.  He developed a new type of traveling parametric amplifier and published his research.  In 1965, he received a Ph.DEE from Penn State.

While living in State College, PA, Art met his wife, Diane, who was working on her Master’s degree and teaching undergraduate classes.

Art and Diane were married on May 14, 1966 in Bensalem, PA.  Diane moved to Laurel and they became members of the Laurel Presbyterian Church.  Art served as a deacon and taught adult bible classes for many years.

Art worked at NSA until 1968.  He then worked at the Amecom Division of Litton Industries in College Park until 1974.  He served as the project manager responsible for the E-2C Passive Detection System analysis.

For the next 16 years, Art worked as a systems engineer at the Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, D.C.  He was responsible for the development, testing and evaluation of the original AN/SLQ-32 and its improvements.  The result was a new sophisticated airborne electronic warfare system which was fielded to protect the Navy’s E-2C aircraft.  Art served as a U.S. representative on the NATO Committee on Integrated Electronic Warfare.

After Art retired from the government, he worked for WGA, Inc. in VA as a systems engineer.

Art became a member of the Fort Meade Flying Club at Tipton Airfield, where he earned his private pilot’s license.  Art spent many weekend hours flying, became certified to fly acrobatics, served as the second president of the flying club and got qualified to be an instructor for the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association’s ground school for those wishing to become a pilot. 

Some of Art’s interests included playing the accordion, acting in leading roles in college theatre productions , being a member of Tau Beta Pi, Eta Kappa Nu, the Briarian Society, and Scabbard and Blade, using celestial navigation to determine his exact location, building a concert organ from a kit, learning to play the organ’s 2 manuals and 2 octaves of wooden pedals together, attending events held by his 3 alumni associations and participating in the prison ministry as a member of the local chapter of the Full Gospel Business Men’s  International, Inc. (FGBMI).

Art’s brother, Captain Jim Sills, invited Art to be a member of his crew when he sailed a yacht being built in a shipyard in Germany to the U.S.A. on the maiden voyage/shakedown cruise.  Art’s knowledge of celestial navigation, radar and electronics were essential in case anything on the yacht did not work properly.  The Sills brothers and the crew successfully sailed the new yacht from Germany, south past Gibraltar and across the Atlantic Ocean to the Caribbean and Florida.

Art received awards for his professional work as well as 50 year awards for his length of membership and/or service.

Art and Diane lived in Montpelier in South Laurel.  They especially enjoyed the adventure and excitement of traveling around the world.

A “Celebration of the Life of Arthur Sills” will be held in the future at the Laurel Presbyterian Church, 7610 Old Sandy Spring Road in Laurel at a time to be determined due to the pandemic.





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