Leslie Emmet Matson, Jr. died peacefully in his sleep at his home at the Commons in Lincoln, MA, on February 10, 2019, at the age of 98 years old. Dr. Matson was the son of Leslie Sr. of Wilmette, IL, and Clara Belle Welch of Citronelle, AL.
A graduate of the University of Michigan, Leslie was an early pioneer in the development of radar detection systems at Thule Air Base in Greenland after WWII. After returning to graduate school for his doctorate at the University of Pennsylvania, he became an aerospace engineering manager for RCA during the Apollo mission years and was responsible for the design and adoption of the Rendezvous Radar system that enabled control of the docking maneuvers required to reunite the Command Module and Lunar Module following a moon landing so that the astronauts could safely start the flight back home to earth. While working at Draper Laboratory in Cambridge, MA, he worked on advanced strategic defense systems during the Cold War.
Leslie lived for many years in Weston, MA, with his wife of 68 years, the late Dr. Mary Jane Ross Matson, and served as Troop 157 Scoutmaster and a long-time member of the Concord Band. On his retirement he first moved to Roseburg, OR, where he was a member of the local water board and enjoyed his spare time as an avid hiker, lepidopterist, herpetologist, and amateur astrophysicist. Recently, he was well-known for keeping active at the Commons, where he enjoyed spirited walks around rural Lincoln and ping-pong with his friends.
Leslie is survived by his son Douglas and daughter-in-law Christina of Belmont MA; his three grandchildren, Caitlin, Malia and Ross; his three great-grandchildren, Sibindi, Banya, and Miriam; and his best friend, Gloria.
A Celebration of Life was held at The Commons in Lincoln, MA, March 9, 2019.