Arthur “Art” O. McCoubrey

Art McCoubrey, a noteworthy contributor to the time and frequency field, finally rested on February 2, 2019 at home with his family. He is survived by his children: Marion, Earl (Julia) and Annette (Egon), six grandchildren: Melina (A.J.), Daria (Ed), John (Kerry), Eddy (Morgan), Rita and Virginia, and 11 great-grand- children and one great-great- grandchild, as well as his beloved companion Joanne who brought him joy in his later years. He was predeceased by his wife of 64 years, Edna Louise Marsile, his parents, his sister Ruth, his aunt Mae, and his grandson, Arthur H. Pitts.

Art was born in Canada but lost his parents to illness at age 11. He was then raised in Los Angeles by his aunt, Mae Orchard. Those who knew him are grateful and fortunate to have had his love, talents, dignity, generous personality and wonderful sense of humor to guide their lives.

A graduate of Cal Tech, Art earned his Ph.D. at the University of Pittsburgh. His career was notable for his contributions to the science of atomic clocks and precise time measurement which has allowed many other advances, most notably GPS. He made important contributions to our field at Varian Associates, the National Bureau of Standards (where he was Director of the Institute for Basic Standards) and (later) the National Institute of Standards and Technology, and was a co-founder of Frequency and Time Systems (later Datum, Symmetricom and now Microsemi). His work included the development of both rubidium and cesium frequency standards, and he was instrumental in introducing the Efratom miniature Rb devices into the U.S. and their adaptation as the first atomic clocks in space. His very tactful personality led to his success as a manager and his diplomatic work on behalf of the U.S. He contributed much to the world.

Adapted from an obituary published in San Luis Obispo County Tribune on March 31, 2019 and available online at