the Secretary of Transportation John Volpe's announcement that the facility would be transformed into Department of Transportation offices. The transfer not only saved a number of jobs but also avoided the loss of a national asset. The center is now called the Volpe National Transportation Systems Center and is still serving a vital role for the Department of Transportation.

Jim Elms retired from full-time employment in 1974 to become a consultant to aerospace and energy companies. He subsequently became a consultant and adviser to the administrator of the Energy Research and Development Agency, the administrator of NASA, and the director of the Strategic Defense Initiative Organization. He always maintained a keen interest in the national space program and sought every possible opportunity to help NASA improve its programs.

Jim Elms was very proud of the following awards conferred for his service to the U.S. government. He received a NASA special award in 1964, NASA's Exceptional Service Medal in 1969, the NASA Outstanding Leadership Medal in 1970, and the Department of Transportation's Meritorious Service Award, which was presented by the secretary of transportation in 1974.

Mr. Elms was a member of the National Academy of Engineering, a fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, a fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, a member of the American Physical Society, a member of the Explorers Club, a member of the Air Force Association, and an associate of the California Institute of Technology. He held patents in instrumentation, computers, radar, and mechanisms. He was an avid and proficient glider pilot and skier and was active in both these sports up until his final illness.

Jim Elms was a man of indomitable spirit, and in spite of encountering a series of physical problems or illnesses during his last two decades, he managed to lead a full life. This included participation in his chosen sports and in providing valuable advice and counsel to friends and professional associates. He was fortunate to have a wonderful and loving wife, the former Patricia Pafford, as a partner for more than fifty years. He also took great pride in the four children of their marriage.

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine
500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001

Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement