Herbert Frederic MacAlpin (known to family and friends as Bert) died peacefully in his home in Fallbrook, Calif., on May 1, 2010, five months shy of his 80th birthday, after a long battle with esophageal cancer. He was born October 13, 1930 in Glendale, Calif., to Frederic and Christine (nee Wright) MacAlpin.
Growing up in Sherman Oaks, Calif., he became an alumnus of the Sherman Oaks Grammar School, Van Nuys Junior High, and Harvard School (military). From an early age he showed great manual dexterity, cleverness with tools, and interest in science. He loved to make things, and could build or fix just about anything. Early projects included model airplanes and gliders, crystal and vacuum tube radios, a small row boat (“SNAFU”), and a one man motor boat fashioned from a discarded belly tank of a P-38 fighter plane and an old washing machine motor. He later graduated to cars and hot rods, which remained his passion for many years.
Following a two year stint in the Army, he went to technical school, and that training led to a long and successful career as an electronic engineer. This occupation allowed him to raise his family in comfort, and to follow his hobbies of wood and metal working in his first class home shop, car and boat restoring, flying small planes, and traveling. At one time or another he owned a yacht, an airplane and an RV. His was a full life.
He is survived by Mary, his wife of 54 years; two daughters, Peggy MacAlpin and Polly Schmitz; two granddaughters, Tabitha MacAlpin and Christine Schmitz; and a younger brother, Rex MacAlpin.