In Memorium: Fred Slock

Fred Slock (1938 - 2010) In Memorium by Ed Mundord, Machinist

Fred Slock, who worked for the department as building maintenance and Woodshop Specialist for more than 33 years, passed away Thanksgiving morning of heart failure. He was 72 years old. He started at the University in April 1971 as a Lab Maintenance Technician, and moved up to Maintenance Technician later on. He retired in 2004, but was still around through the end of 2005 and into 2006.

I wanted to say a little something about one of my past friends, Fred “Freddy” Slock. When I started in the department ten years ago, both Freddy and the lecture demonstration specialist Ziggy Peacock, made it a point to befriend me and make me feel a part of the physics department. It was routine almost every morning, around 7:00 a.m. before classes started, for all of us to meet and have a cup of coffee in the lecture demo room. During the morning coffee, Freddy and Ziggy always delighted in a round of verbal bantering with professors such as Sid Rudolph. Rich Ingebretsen, Orest Symko and many others as they would prepare for their day’s lectures. This is how I was introduced to many of the faculty.


Freddy was an amazing craftsman. He had a roll-around tool box that he pushed down the hallways of Physics going from one job to the next, and he also taught the wood shop class. There was nothing he would not tackle. My late son and his brother loved to come to work with me so Freddy could teach them how to make a “sun dial”. He really enjoyed passing his knowledge on to the students.

Freddy loved to walk. We walked every street in the avenues and I mean every one of them! We single-handedly solved most problems and conflicts of the day on our walks. Freddy would always point out the building architecture in the neighborhood and tell of endless stories of his youth in Holland. We knew every fruit tree and berry bush in the area, and he never failed to make it a point on my “grazing on the bushes” as we walked.

Freddy knew he had a fixed time line here and we talked about it often. We had a somewhat ghoulish outlook on death and weren’t afraid to make it part of our daily walks discussions. Jokingly, I would ask him occasionally, “Freddy, do you have lunch money today” he would look at me and say “Sure, why?”, “Well” I replied, “If you collapse on me again I’m propping you against the dumpster and I’m going to go get lunch.” He collapsed one day, in my arms, in front of the math building. I started to call 911, when he suddenly opened his eyes and asked, “why am I in the gutter?”. I just looked at him and said “Freddy, you need to ask yourself why you’re in my arms.” That was promptly followed by him cursing “Get me the hell up!” Truth be told, there are many friends and coworkers at the University that will miss the passing of our dear friend, “Freddy”.

Frank Wanlass (1933 - 2010)

From his obituary/em>

Dr. Frank Marion Wanlass died peacefully in his home in Santa Clara, CA the afternoon of September 9, 2010 from the complications of diabetes. He was under the care of Heartland Hospice, and his devoted brother David Wanlass.

He was born in Thatcher, Arizona, the son of Frank Evans and Josephine Robinson Wanlass. He spent his childhood years in Nephi, UT, Pleasant Grove, UT, and Mesa, AZ, finally moving to Ogden, UT at age 11 where he graduated from Ogden High School and started his higher education at Weber University. He served his country in Army intelligence during the Korean War from 1953-55. He later went on to the University of Utah in Salt Lake City where he earned his PhD in physics in 1962 with Dr. Henry Eyring as his mentor and major professor. He married Carolyn Clark in 1957, and they had four children: W. Tane Wanlass, W. Bryn Wanlass, Justine W. Turcotte, and Bonnie W. Gonzales. He has 14 grandchildren. Frank and Carolyn divorced in 1970, and he moved to California and later married Narci Fisher. They were divorced in 1981. He had a special friend Barbara Ramirez from 1989 until her death from cancer in 2001. He lived and worked in the Cupertino/Sunnyvale/Santa Clara, CA area from 1970 onwards. He very much enjoyed his associates, and the climate in California.

In the early 1960’s, while still at the University of Utah, he had a “quantum leap” to formulate the idea of CMOS (complementary metal oxide semiconductor), the technology employed in most modern microchips. After his graduation he perfected this idea while working for Fairchild Semiconductor. He was awarded patent 3,356,858 in 1967 for his invention. At the time, CMOS drew six orders of magnitude less power than the day’s state of the art circuits. Their low power consumption makes CMOS circuits particularly well suited for battery powered devices. One of the first applications Wanlass worked on was the digital watch. CMOS chips found wide application in many devices in the 1970’s, and are now part of nearly every electronic device.

Wanlass left Fairchild in 1964, and since then involved himself in several start up companies, as well as working independently. He was awarded the IEEE Solid-State Circuit Award in 1991 for his invention, and was inducted into the Inventor Hall of Fame in 2009. These awards meant a lot to him. His mind was active and sharp to the end of his life.

I LUV CMOS was on Frank’s personalized California license plate.