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Ellen B. (Blotner) Lipson

Lipson, Ellen B., 86 yrs, of Dedham, August 10, 2020. Daughter of the late Harry Blotner and Sylvia (Lewitt) Blotner. Beloved husband of Dr. Charles Lipson of 64 years. Devoted mother of Robert and Felicia, Peter and Hap, David and Abigail, and the late Caroline Kaufer. Proud grandmother of Harry, Celia, Isaac and Aaron, Sophie and Greg, Jenny, Tom, Hillary and Catherine. Loving sister of the late Kenneth Blotner.

Ellen’s work, in between raising five children, included helping to design this country’s early warning system (the DEW line) and helping to design the nation’s prototype air defense system, the Cape Cod System, and then the SAGE systems, as well as other projects. In retirement she was an elected member and the treasurer of her Democratic ward committee in Newton. She has also served as a volunteer greeter at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts.

Ellen spent a lifetime of living, working studying and making a difference in the Boston area. Ellen served as president of the Newton League of voters and then spent a number of years volunteering for the state league as a lobbyist. As well as working for the Combined Jewish Philanthropies of Greater Boston. Ellen earned her B.A. in mathematics at Wellesley College and her M.A. in applied math at Harvard.

Ellen’s career began in her early twenties at Lincoln Laboratories in Lexington, MA where she worked on developing equations describing the interception of bombers by fighter interceptors. This was the beginning of the air defense system. Interrupted when the children arrived, Ellen picked up her work again as they went off to high-school and college. She took advantage of a National Science Foundation offer to update women in science at Northeastern University. That opportunity gave her three quarters of free tuition and a chance to learn computer programming in time to be able to help the Air Force apply systems engineering to its radar programs.

When she went back to work she went to Mitre Corporation, an offshoot of Lincoln Laboratories that had taken over the system engineering programs of Lincoln Laboratories. Although much of what she did is still so secret that she would not talk in any detail about it, but she does admit to working on the radar installed in Berlin, the DEW line, and one of the early over the horizon radars. She also was sent to a still secret location in Europe leaving Charlie with a blind Phone number in case of emergency. She also went to Keflavik, Iceland for a month for Air Force work. In retirement, she tracked the stock market from her computer, something she did for more than just amusement as a day trader.

Funeral service and burial will be private. A driveway shiva will be held at the home of Stephen Kaufer and Lisa Howe on Wednesday & Thursday from 1-3 pm. Donations in Ellen’s memory can be made to Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital, 148 Chestnut St., Needham, MA 02492.


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