Carl W. Raggio, 94, born on July 28, 1928, in Los Angeles, California, United States, passed away June 20, 2023. He resided in Valencia, California at the time of his passing. Carl attended Alhambra High school in California and graduated in 1946. He went on to attend John Muir College until 1949 where he met his future wife, Marilyn “Lynne” Lloyd, whom he married on June 9, 1951. He became associated with the California Institute of Technology, Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), the same year when the lab only had three buildings and approximately 300 employees.
In 1953, Carl was awarded a scholarship to Northrop Aeronautical Institute and completed his studies in 1955. He became engaged in the deep space program as a design engineer at JPL during the beginning of its involvement in spacecraft research, development, and design. During his 39 years at JPL, Carl was instrumental in the design and deployment of several landmark space crafts including Explorer 1, the first satellite launched by the United States into space in 1958 as well as, Pioneer, Ranger, Mariner, Viking, Voyager and Galileo. During the late 1950’s, he and his small team of design engineers would also become instrumental in advancing the research and design of the heart lung machine, inspired by his third son, Nicholas, who died of a cardiovascular malformation at a very young age.
During his 39 years at JPL, Carl was credited with three inventions: a Steering System for Solid Propellant Motors, Spatial Antenna Structures, and a Separation Joint. On January 13, 1961, the Design Section, under his leadership, developed a proposal for a Universal Spacecraft Assembly (USA). The major objectives in the USA study were to achieve simplicity and versatility and eliminate redundant structure, requiring every possible part to perform more than one function. It was believed that spacecraft configuration had become too complex, particularly on Ranger. Because of his experience on Explorer, Pioneer, Ranger, and Mariner A, this simple application concept would be considered for Mariner B.
Carl knew that spacecraft design had to meet a number of requirements such as environmental standards, preliminary standard trajectories, launch, flight performance, testing, encounter operations, and applying lessons learned to the next flight. As seen in his collection at JPL, Carl was a man of vision and leadership. In December 1958, he became lead designer of the JII (Juno) Starfinder Program and in 1975, he became manager of JPL's Engineering Design Section 356. After 39 years of service at JPL, Carl retired on October 1,1990.
Carl and Lynne moved to Glendale in the early 1960’s where he became an active community member in the city and served as a board member for the Glendale Unified School district from 1973-1985 and the Glendale City Council from 1985 to 1993. During his council service he served one-year terms as mayor in 1988 and 1992. In addition, Raggio was instrumental in forming the Tri-City Transportation Coalition for transportation improvements in Burbank, Glendale and Pasadena and served as the first chairman of the 21-member board of governors in 1989-1990. He went onto serve on the Burbank, Glendale Pasadena Airport Authority for the next 15 years. In 2013, Carl was appointed by Los Angeles County 5th District Supervisor Michael Antonovich to the Glendale Redevelopment Successor Agency where he served as the Oversight Board Chairman.
Carl and Lynne shared a strong commitment to their Catholic faith and were parishioners at Holy Redeemer church in Montrose for over 35 years where they served as lectors and co-chaired the church’s first capital campaign.
While Carl’s achievements were extensive in space exploration and local government, his greatest pride and blessings came from his deep love and adoration for his “wonderful mate” and large and cherished family.
Carl was a staunch supporter of good government and believed the universe was “marvelous”, unquestionably designed by God, and that every citizen has a responsibility to give back to their community and to take care of those less fortunate.
Carl was a ninth generation Californian and a beloved and exemplary husband, father, grandfather, great grandfather, friend and teacher. He is survived by his wife of 72 years, Lynne; his two sons, Carl Raggio III and his wife Mary; Paul Anthony and his fiancé Natalya; and daughter Lisa and her husband Greg Patterson, as well as 15 grandchildren and 8 great children, all of whom will continue to live out his powerful legacy.
Funeral arrangements are under the care of Forest Lawn in Glendale. The funeral service will commence at Holy Redeemer Catholic Church located at 2411 Montrose Ave. in Montrose on July 21st at 1 pm followed by a Celebration of Life outdoor reception at the Museum Patio at Forest Lawn Glendale.
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