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The famous General Trexler Estate at 1227 Hamilton Street is among the best known residences in Allentown. Filled with ornate woodwork, leaded stained glass windows, comtemporary lighting and a grand entranceway, coming to the Trexler Home is a unique experience.

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Friedolf M. Smits

Friedolf Michael Smits, 92, of Allentown died Tuesday, January 17h, in Saint Luke’s University Hospital. Friedolf was the loving husband of Irmgard I. Smits.

Friedolf Smits was born in Stuttgart, Germany on November 10, 1924, the son of the late Henri and Olga Smits.  He grew up in Germany where he received his education and received his PhD in Physics from the University of Freiburg in 1950.  In his thesis, he developed a new method of geological age determination based on the radioactive decay of potassium.

In 1954, Friedolf was recruited to the United States by W. Shockley, one of the co-inventors of the Transistor, and moved to the United States to work at AT&T Bell Laboratories focusing on the then new semiconductor technologies. One of his proudest accomplishments was his ground breaking work on the radiation hardening of the solar cells powering “Telstar”, AT&Ts first prototype communications satellite.

He became a Fellow of the IEEE in 1972 "For contributions and leadership in semiconductor device development" and retired from Bell Laboratories in 1986 after serving as a director leading various aspects of semiconductor development for Bell Labs.

Since his retirement, he has volunteered and served on the Board of Directors of the IEEE providing leadership for the Technical Activities and the Publications Activities Boards of the IEEE. In 1997, the IEEE presented him with the “Richard M Emberson Award” with the citation: “For outstanding service to the Institute in technical activities, electronic communications, and publication management and finance”.

Friedolf is survived by his wife Irmgard, his son Jeffrey Smits, his wife Candice, and their son Jason of Portland, Oregon, his son Michael and his wife Dee of Poughkeepsie, NY, and his daughter Helga Smits Brown and her husband David, of Salt Lake City, Utah. Friedolf is survived by his sister Maria Michaela Thompson and her husband Thomas of Charlottesville, Va. He was preceded in death by his parents and his sister Christhild of Germany.

There will be closed casket visitation for Friedolf Smits on Friday, January 20, at 10:30 am followed by the Funeral Service at 11:30 am at Nicos C. Elias Funeral Home, Inc. at 1227 W. Hamilton Street, Allentown, PA.

The Act of Consecration of Man for the Dead will be celebrated for Friedolf on Saturday, January 21, at 11 am at the Christian Community Church, at 212 Old Lancaster Road, Devon PA 10333. 

If you wish to make a contribution in memory of Friedolf, you are welcome to send your donation to The Christian Community at 212 Old Lancaster Road, Devon, PA or to Kimberton Waldorf School at 410 W Seven Stars Rd, Kimberton, PA.