JAMES E. DINGMAN; FORMER VICE CHAIRMAN OF AMERICAN TELEPHONE & TELEGRAPH CO.
VERGENNES, Vt., Aug. 9 /PRNewswire/ -- James E. Dingman, 91, former vice chairman of American Telephone & Telegraph Co. and an original director of the Communications Satellite Corporation (now Comsat Corporation) died Saturday of cancer at at his summer home at the Basin Harbor Club here. As a developer of the Telstar satellite, Dingman helped lead the Bell System into the modern era of telecommunications. He presided at the first telecast beamed to a space relay station and back to earth, in 1962. He testified before the U.S. Senate Aeronautical and Space Sciences Committee during 1963 hearings on satellite communications legislation, urging that ownership of the satellite corporation be limited to the communications carriers. Comsat was established as a publicly owned corporation, with AT&T and other carriers also holding equity positions. Dingman served on the Comsat board of directors from 1964 until 1973. Late in his life, Dingman recalled the Comsat ownership issue in an interview. "The real problem at the time," he said, was that President John F. Kennedy favored private ownership, while his brother Robert, the Attorney General, wanted Comsat to be publicly owned. "Jack told Senator Kerr (Oklahoma Democrat Robert S. Kerr, Chairman of the Senate Aeronautical and Space Sciences Committee) to develop something that was between all-private and all-public." Dingman's 44-year career with AT&T and affiliates began in New York City in 1922, where he was employed by Western Electric Co., a unit of the Bell System, as an equipment tester. He retired in 1966, at the age of 65, after rising to the position of executive vice president of AT&T, with responsibility for coordinating operations, engineering and construction throughout the Bell System, and finally to vice chairman of the board of directors. James Everett Dingman was born in Baltimore, Aug. 19, 1901, the son of Frank Everett Dingman and Blanche Clear Dingman. Dingman was descendant of 17th-century Dutch colonists of New York. James Dingman's most vivid remembrance of his childhood was learning to read at the age of "4 or 5." His father taught him with the aid of "alphabet blocks and simple, handmade charts and pictures." As a result, when he enrolled in the first grade at 6, he was ahead of his class and skipped a grade. Another lesson he learned early in life was the value of cooperation. When one of the neighborhood bullies became unbearable, he persuaded two other boys to help him down the troublemaker in a muddy field. After that, none of the bullies bothered them. As a 15-year-old, he marched in President Woodrow Wilson's inaugural parade on March 4, 1917. At 16, he entered what is now the University of Maryland, where he graduated four years later, in 1921, with a bachelor of science degree in mechanical engineering. He received an honorary doctor of engineering degree from his alma mater in 1960. Following a stint in the engineering department of the city of Baltimore after graduation, he joined Western Electric in New York City and was on his way up the Bell System ladder. In 1930, Dingman married Amelia W. Williamson of Morristown, N.J. The couple took only a one-day honeymoon following their Saturday wedding, and Dingman was back in the office Monday morning. "In those days, one worked at a job," he would later recall. He became vice president and general manager of Bell Telephone Laboratories in 1952. Four years later he was elected vice president, operations of AT&T Long Lines and in 1959 was promoted to vice president and chief engineer. He was elected executive vice president of AT&T in 1961 and vice chairman in 1965. His civic and charitable activities included service on the board of trustees of the New Jersey College of Medicine and Dentistry and as chairman of its design and construction committee. He is survived by his wife, Amelia; his son Michael D. Dingman, chairman and chief executive officer of the The General Chemical Group Inc., Hampton, N.H.; his daughter, Nancy Dingman Cannon of Darien, Conn., nine grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren. There will be a private family service for Dingman at his home in Vermont tomorrow, followed by a memorial service later this year at the First Presbyterian Church near his home in Delray Beach, Fla., where he was an elder of the church. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be sent to the James E. Dingman Endowment at the Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship, College of Business and Management, University of Maryland, College Park, Md., 20742. -0- 8/9/93 /CONTACT: Norman Ritter, Abex, Inc., 603-929-2322/
CO: ABEX INC, AT&T ST: VERMONT IN: TLS SU: PER
JL-CM -- NE003 -- 0640 08/09/93 09:26 EDT
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|Date:||Aug 9, 1993|
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