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James R. Chadwick

James R. Chadwick passed away peacefully on May 2, 2009, at his home of more than 60 years in Bradbury, Calif., at the age of 87. His son John and John’s wife Judy Kline were with him.

Jim was born on Dec. 3, 1921, in Los Angeles. He was a natural hobbyist and tinkerer. He built his own telescope at age 12. He attended Caltech, worked at Douglas Aircraft, and served in the US Navy as photo officer on the USS Montpelier in the Pacific theater in World War II.

He married Dorothy Helen Faries, also of Los Angeles, in 1946. They built a home in Bradbury in 1946-47 without hiring a day’s labor, helped found the city of Bradbury in 1957, and had five children along the way. After a few years at Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Jim started Chadwick-Helmuth Co. in his shop at home in 1953. The company evolved into a world leader in the field of vibration analysis and rotor balance on helicopters and other aircraft. His name became a verb: to “Chadwick” your helicopter means to balance its rotors. He also continued his myriad of hobbies, which included large-format black-and-white photography, building furniture, tending his orchard, traveling the American Southwest and the rest of the world, restoring old Porsches, attending classical music concerts, and having lunch at Pie ‘n Burger.



He is survived by four children: Glenn (Kristen) Chadwick of Glenwood Springs; Bill (Barbara) Chadwick of San Luis Obispo, Calif.; John Chadwick (Judy Kline) of Monrovia, Calif.; and Anne Chadwick of Soda Springs, Calif.; four grandchildren; and one great-grandchild. His beloved wife, Dorothy, passed away in 1995, and his son Russell passed away in 1999.

A private memorial celebration will be held. In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to the Sequoia Riverlands Trust, an organization devoted to preserving the majestic landscape so precious to Jim.


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