ERWIN, GRANT WEST, JR., Captain, Service # 0-558862, U.S. Army Air Force
Grant West Erwin Jr. was born 30 June 1918 in Chicago, Illinois to Grant W. Erwin (1886-1962) and Helen A. (Armstrong) Erwin (1897-1935) of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He had a brother and a younger sister, Barbara E. Erwin (1919- ). He was a member of the Phi Eta Sigma and Phi Gamma Delta fraternities at the University of Wisconsinin 1939-1941. His father was a copy writer for a newspaper. He and Dr. Betty Louise Koch married in 1950 in Washington. The 1953 directory for Seattle, Washington, shows he and Betty Louise (Koch) Erwin, M.D., (1922-1989) lived at 11926 Exeter Avenue NE, Seattle. They had three sons, John Koch Erwin (1957-1958), Grant W. Erwin III, Daniel Erwin (Culver City, CA) and four daughters; Alice Erwin, Dallas, TX; Victoria Erwin, Seattle; Anne Erwin, Culver City, CA; and Helen Erwin, Seattle. Dr. Erwin was educated in Berlin and graduated from Berlin H.S. in 1940, was editor of the Mascoutin Year Book and a graduate of the Medical College of Wisconsin in 1946. She practiced as an anesthesiologist in Seattle, wrote six childrens books (Aggie, Maggie and Tish; Where's Aggie?; Summer Sleigh Ride; Go to the Room of the Eyes; Behind the Magic Line; and Who is Victoria?) and numerous others not published..
Grant W. Erwin Jr flew as a navigator for Northwestern Airlines in 1953 and was employed as a mathematician for Boeing Airplane Company. Flying for Northwestern, he took part in the Korean airlift near the beginning of the Korean War. He was mentioned in a book for his calm management and his creativity: Reflections on the History of Computing: Preserving Memories and Sharing Stories, edited by Arthur Tatnall – Quote – Indeed, when I look back on the history of industrial computing as it stood fifty years ago I cringe with fear. It should never have been allowed to happen … And the reason why it did was because we had the right man, Grant W. Erwin Jr., in the right place, and he was the only man on this planet who could have done it. Grant was a superb leader – as opposed to manager – and he knew his stuff like no other. He knew the mathematics, Numerical Analysis, and where it didn’t exist he created new methods. He was loved by his team; they would work all hours and weekends without a quibble whenever he asked them to do so. He was an elegant writer and inspiring teacher. He knew what everyone was doing; he held the plan in his head. If any single person can be regarded as the inventor of CAD it was Grant. Very sadly, he died at the age of 94, just as the ink of this chapter was drying.
Grant W. Erwin, Jr., (1stLt in MACR report), bailed out of the B-24J, after ordering 2dLt Clyborne to bail out and noting that the pilots were dead or unconscious in a cockpit that was on fire and that the nose gunner was dead. 1stLt Erwin believed the others were dead or unconscious as well. He bailed out, avoided being strafed by enemy fires, and was captured and taken to Bassein hospital then the Rangoon Cantonment. The Eau Claire Leader, Eau Claire, Wisc., 1 Jan. 1944, reported him as MIA. Upon rescue from the prison he was given much needed medical care and, promoted to Captain, was placed on inactive status on medical furlough in Wisconsin. He lived a long life and passed away 12 June 2012 in Salem, Oregon. Betty K. Erwin passed away in Seattle, Washington, and is buried in Oakwood Cemetery..