Donald E. Troxel, 1934 - 2011

Wednesday, January 19, 2011 (All day)

Professor Emeritus Donald E. Troxel, passed away yesterday, Jan. 18, 2011, following a protracted illness.

Don Troxel, born March 11, 1934, in Trenton, New Jersey, received the BS degree in electrical engineering from Rutgers University in 1956. He followed with studies in electrical engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology earning the SM and PhD degrees in 1960 and 1962 respectively. Don remained at MIT first as a Ford Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow and then joined the EECS Department as Assistant Professor in 1964, reaching full professor in the Department in 1985. He retired as Professor Emeritus in July, 2004.

Troxel's early research interests were concerned with tactile communications and sensory aids for the blind. Since 1968 his principal research interests focused on digital systems design and image processing, including bandwidth compression, enhancement and graphic arts applications. Troxel was principal investigator with both the Research Laboratory of Electronics, RLE, and with the Microsystems Technology Laboratories, MTL. His teaching activities centered on electronics and digital systems laboratories. Prof. Troxel was noted for teaching 6.111, Introductory Digital Systems Laboratory, for nearly twenty years.

Donald Troxel's interests turned to CRM, character recognition machinery, particularly as needs in the late 1960's for this technology gave birth to electronic character recognition. The company ECRM was founded in 1969 by Professors Samuel J. Mason, William Schreiber, and Donald Troxel, all PhDs from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Melvin Fennell from The Associated Press. They developed one of the first commercially successful optical character recognition (OCR) machines. In the mid 1970's, the company developed the Autokon, the first laser-based scanning camera to have broad impact on the publishing industry, becoming a de facto standard for high quality halftone images. In 1983, ECRM Imaging Systems was sold and continues as an independent company based in Tewksbury, Massachusetts.

Donald Troxel is survived by his wife Eileen, and his three children Gregory Troxel and his wife Mary Ellen of Stow, Jocelyn Milton and her husband Mark of Belmont and Andrea Troxel and her husband Adam Kosto of Bala-Cynwyd, PA., and four grand-children.

Visiting hours will be on Thursday, January 20, from 4 pm. to 7 pm. at Brown and Hickey Funeral Home, at 36 Trapelo Rd, Belmont, Massachusetts 02478.

The funeral for Don Troxel will be held on Friday, January 21, at 10 am at the Belmont United Methodist Church, at 421 Common Street, Belmont Massachusetts 02478. Burial will be at Highland Meadow Cemetery, Concord Avenue, Belmont, followed by a reception at the church.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to St. Mary's Episcopal Church, Rector's Discretionary Fund, 24 Broadway, Rockport, Massachusetts 01966. More information is available at

Read more:

MIT News Office, Jan. 19, 2011 article: "Donald Troxel, longtime EECS professor, dies at 76; Taught MIT's 6.111 course for many years"

Boston Globe Obituary, Jan. 19, 2011.