George Burnham Kurtz passed away on May 4, 2019 in Enumclaw, Washington after a long and courageous battle with Parkinson's disease; he was 80 years old. He was born in Florence, Arizona on December 21, 1938. George spent his childhood in Arizona and later Redfield, South Dakota. He married his high school sweetheart Karen Nelson in 1957 and joined the US Air Force for 3 ½ years before settling into San Jose, California in 1960. He was a long-time resident of Los Gatos, California where he graduated from San Jose State University with a master’s degree in Physics and later became an electrical engineer. He worked at Lockheed in the early years of computers in the Silicon Valley, and also worked on the design and build of the Apollo 7 spacecraft. George would later leave Lockheed after purchasing the patent on an unfinished machine which he would develop and improve in his garage late at night and on the weekends. He finished the machine in the early 1970's and it became an automatic discrete semiconductor tester which tested Field Effect Transistors, including high power devices and was sold to many electronic and computer companies all over the world. This would develop into his life's work and become a very successful industry leading business in Los Gatos called FET Test, which originally existed where the current site of Netflix headquarters is now. He would later move it and most of his 25 employees to Morgan Hill, California in 1987.
George was also a very competitive and avid tennis player for many years at Courtside Tennis Club in Los Gatos and loved his weekly tennis matches, Courtside friends, and playing in an occasional tournament. He was a long-time fan of the SF Giants, Warriors, and 49ers and would watch or listen to games any chance he had. He was a lover of the outdoors and had a real soft spot for all animals, especially his beloved dogs Ginger, Honey, Jakie, and Chloe which he spoiled immensely. He also loved to barbecue and was known for his amazing ribs. He had a very dry sense of humor and loved corny jokes, and music from the 30's and 40's. He enjoyed, loved, and was proud of all of his children and grandchildren.
He is survived by a son James Kurtz (Ming Ming Su-Brown) of Enumclaw, WA, a daughter Tami Kurtz of New York, NY, a son Brad Kurtz of Sebastopol, CA. Also 5 grandchildren: Nolan Kurtz, Alec Kurtz, Macy Jaskiewicz, Tobias Etienne-Kurtz, and Chiara Etienne-Kurtz. He is survived by his brother Jack Kurtz (Nell) of Reno, NV, and his sister Jerry Salomon, of Santa Rosa, CA.
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