James E. “Jim” Heber ’60 died peacefully in his sleep at the age of 87. A Navy pilot and Hughes Aircraft engineer, Heber, a lifelong UCLA football fan, was offered the chance to play water polo for the Bruins, but opted for the Navy aviation cadet program. He began his studies at UCLA following his discharge from the regular Navy, graduating with a degree in engineering, while continuing to fly in the Navy reserve.
Heber’s 31-year career at Hughes Aircraft – initially interrupted by a return to active duty prompted by the Berlin Wall and Cuban Missile crises – saw him work on numerous fire control weapons systems for military applications and manage the optics laboratory for more than 20 years. His expertise in the field led to his working on the repair of the Hubble Space Telescope.
Heber completed nearly 200 carrier landings in the regular Navy and Reserve, including three missions in Vietnam during the height of the war, before retiring from the reserves in 1972 as a lieutenant commander.
He was married to his wife Barbara for 63 years. They had five children, Bob Heber ’78, Leslie, Lisa, John and Lynn, along with three granddaughters and one grandson.