Louis Bernard Gratzer

Passed on May 30, 2014

Louis Bernard Gratzer obituary image 1



Louis Bernard Gratzer, age 93 passed away peacefully on Friday, May 30, 2014 in Seattle, WA.


Louis was born in Tacoma, WA on November 15, 1920 to Louis and Hazel Gratzer. He graduated from Bellarmine Preparatory High School in 1937 and then from the University of Washington with a B.S. (1944) and M.S. (1951), both in aeronautical engineering. He joined the Boeing Commercial Airplane Company in 1953 and held a variety of engineering and technical management positions until his retirement in 1986. In 1968, while employed at Boeing, Louis earned his Ph.D. in aeronautics and astronautics from the University of Washington.


After his retirement from Boeing, Louis returned to the University of Washington as an affiliate associate professor in the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics. During this time he consulted on projects with NASA Langley and on development of the 1987 America’s Cup-winning yacht, Stars and Stripes.


Since 1990, Louis has been a senior vice president at Aviation Partners, Inc., a Seattle engineering firm focused on developing and marketing his patented blended winglet and, more recently, his split scimitar winglet design. Today, there are over 6000 business jets and Boeing airliners flying blended winglets.     


Louis was preceded in death by his parents, sister Josephine, brothers Richard and Thomas and his first wife Kathryn.


Louis is survived by his wife Ruthmarie, their children, Rick Gratzer (Kate), Mary Kay Carroll (Jack), Mary Wiles (Steve), Suzanne Sypert (Bob), Joan Palelek (Ron) and Jim Corbett (Jane) and 11 grandchildren.


Happy Father’s Day Dad – we love you and miss you very much!


Mass will be celebrated at the St. James Cathedral, 804 - 9th Avenue, Seattle, WA  98104 on Wednesday, June 25th at 11:00 AM.  There will be a reception to follow at the Museum of Flight.  Remembrances can be made to the Museum of Flight. 


Alicia McCann/Fenn Shrader
Kirkland, Wa
Jun 25, 2014

Deepest condolence.


Alicia and Fenn

Larry and Joyce da Costa
Seattle, WA
Jun 23, 2014

Our sincere condolences to Bernie's family. We were privileged to have Bernie's friendship and his tremendous support during the difficult period in our lives when we lost my parents in a car accident.

Whatever success I had in my career I owe it to what I learned about aerodynamics from Bernie.

May he rest in peace. We will sincerely miss him.

Larry and Joyce da Costa

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