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George E. Platzer, Jr.

April 22, 1923 October 26, 2017
George E. Platzer, Jr.
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Obituary for George E. Platzer, Jr.

George Erhardt Platzer, Jr., of Rochester Hills, died October 26, 2017 at the age of 94. George was born April 22, 1923 in Newark, New Jersey to parents George and Irene Platzer.

George proudly served during WWII in the United States Army Air Corp as a B17 navigator. He graduated from Wayne State University with a master’s degree in physics and electrical engineering.

George married the love of his life, Katalina Petrov on September 8, 1984. He was an inventor, physicist, electrical and automotive engineer for Chrysler Corp.

George is survived by his beloved wife of 33 years, Katalina.

Visitation will be held at Lynch & Sons Funeral Home, 1368 N. Crooks Rd. (between 14-15 Mile Rds.) Monday 11am until time of the funeral service, 1pm. Burial with military honors in Evergreen Cemetery, Detroit.


George Erhardt Platzer, Jr.

April 22, 1923 Newark, NJ - October 26, 2017 Rochester Hills, MI

With George’s passing another World War II member of the “Greatest Generation” leaves behind their indelible legacy. We should all look back at them with gratitude for the sacrifices they made and for how they changed America through unparalleled progress.

George was born to George Sr. and Irene Stange Platzer. The Platzer family history goes back to the 1680’s when they came to America as Dutch immigrants. They settled in upstate New York and farmed the land. His mother’s family were German immigrant who came to America in 1848 from Saxony and Bern Switzerland. They settled in New York City. George’s great grandfather Moritz and grandfather Julius on his mother’s side where both trained cabinet makers and built the Stange upright pianos in NYC. Moritz applied for and received a US patent for an improvement in the piano fortes in 1863. The original patent has remained in the family.

George’s father graduated from Pratt Institute School of Science and Technology in NYC receiving his Applied Electricity Degree in 1913 and married Irene in 1916 in NYC. George’s sister, Edith, was born in 1918 and George was born 5 years later. They later made their home in East Orange, New Jersey.

As the depression was taking its toll on the nation in the1930’s the Platzer family moved from NJ where George Sr. had been working for GE to Detroit where he became a salesman/engineer for Dynamometer generators. In 1949 George’s parents wanted to retire back east and purchased a farm in Mass. George Sr. wanted to work his farm but also wanted to keep working as an salesman/engineer out of Springfield, Mass., and he did just that. In 1951 while working in Springfield George Sr. applied for and was issued a patent for his improvements to pipe coupling devises.

George Jr. enjoyed growing up in Detroit and he especially enjoyed being in Boy Scout Troop 213 camping and earning merit badges. The neighborhood always knew George was at it again as he would set off his Big Bang Cannon in the backyard. He also loved his childhood cat “Jackie” who took it upon himself to terrorize every neighborhood dog who crossed his path. There were always stories about Jackie. Even before George graduated from Cooley High School he knew what he wanted to be, an engineer.

George was attending the University of Detroit College of Engineering when World War II entered into his life and he was called up for duty in 1943. Because George already had two years of engineering he was assigned to the US Army Air Transport Command in Dalhart, Texas. There George became a Link Celestial Navigation Trainer Technician and maintained four trainers. George was then assigned and flew as a navigator on B17 bombers and C-47 transports for 18 months while stationed in the Asiatic-Pacific Theatre (Luzon). He was honorable discharged from his military service with the rank of Sergeant in 1946. It was then back to school for George.

In 1949 George graduated from Wayne State University with degrees in Electrical Engineering and Physics and was a Tau Beta Pi Honor Society Engineering member and a National Honor Society member and later a life long member of the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE). George then began his career at the Chrysler Corporation Research Laboratories in Highland Park. In 1952 George went on to obtain his Automotive Engineering degree from the Chrysler Institute of Engineering. George spent most of his career at the Chrysler Corporation Engineering Division Physics Research Laboratory as a Senior Research Scientist.

George loved what he did and his creativity and ingenuity came through in every project he worked on. George was a man whose thinking was always just a little bit ahead of his time. George developed the first automatically controlled day/night mirror to go into production. He developed several automatic headlamp dimmer circuits to reduce glare for oncoming drivers. He developed an outside dimming rearview mirror using opaque fluid. He conceived and developed a high speed electronic multiplying circuit using logarithmic characteristic of junction diodes. He developed an air flow sensor utilizing the ionization produced by Polonium 210. He conceived and developed an electronic timing angle controller. He designed the magnetic circuit for an “in axle” wheel speed sensor. The list goes on and on. George never stopped working even after he retired from General Dynamics. He went on to consult for Rockwell Automotive/Arvin Meritor and Valeo Automotive International and did some expert witnessing.

In 1995 George presented a technical paper at SAE entitled, The Geometry of Automotive Rearview Mirrors: Why Blind Zones Exist and Strategies to Overcome Them. #950601. From this paper George developed the BGE outside mirror setting system which SAE then published as a non-technical public service brochure entitled “A Simple Way to Prevent Blindzone Accidents”. It was a huge success for the SAE Public Affairs Office. George’s BGE system has been written about across the US and Canada and can be found throughout the internet as the way to adjust your rearview mirrors. One can even find George in Wikipedia under Blind Spot Monitor for this 1995 paper and for his outside rearview mirror that shows the blind zone only.

In 2006 at the age of 83 George presented another SAE paper base on his mirror concept entitled, An FMVSS 111 Complaint Driver’s Side Mirror Incorporating a Blind Zone Viewing Section. #2006-01-129. Patent # US 6,315,419 B1 and later George assisted Magna Mirrors, the licensee, in the development of his Blind Zone Mirror for production. It became the “BlindZoneMirror”TM at Magna Mirrors and went into production in 2009 debuting on the Ford Edge and Chevy Traverse. The mirror won the Automotive PACE Award honoring innovation, technological advancements and business performance among automotive suppliers. What a beautiful finish to George’s long career of engineering excellence. The list of George’s patents run in the multiple dozens. Innovation did seem to run in both sides of George’s family.

On the personal side of life George enjoyed many activities, he became a private pilot and flew for a number of years. He and his wife of 33 years, Katalina, enjoyed throughout their marriage their travels to Europe and to Caribbean islands, they enjoyed dining out and were season subscribers to the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, and Meadowbrooke Theatre, they enjoyed trips to the Detroit Institute of Arts, visiting America’s National Parks and visiting historical places. They also enjoyed their home in Port Austin, MI on Lake Huron as their getaway. Although George never failed to take a briefcase full of his papers every time they did go up to the lake. And yes, George loved and enjoyed their cats.

George could never stop conceptualizing and his creative approaches to solving engineering problems made him unique. At 92 he was still working on a next generation of his Blind Zone Mirror when he suffered a fall due to his chemo induced peripheral neuropathy imbalance which progressively got worse for him over the last couple of years.

George was a true gentleman, a kind and pleasant person to be with and a good and decent man. He was well respected among those in his long established professional life. He was a devoted and loving husband to his wife Katalina. George was the love of her life. He was a loved and loving son-in-law to Katalina’s parents. And George was a loving and devoted son to his parents and a dear brother to his sister. He will be dearly thought of and deeply missed.

George accomplished his destiny.

May His Memory Be Eternal


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