Microwave Legends are made, not born. This year, the list of notable people, places, and things that have made their contributions to this industry has grown through the addition of five outstanding figures (see "Microwave Legends"). Each lived life with energy and conviction, sharing ideas and advances that would influence the rest of the industry for years to come. But one name not on that list, which may make its way there in the years to come, is that of Florence Isaacson. This special woman passed away last month, but not before leaving a mark on this industry not soon forgotten.
The story of Florence Isaacson, perhaps best known for running ARRA, Inc. (Bayshore, NY), has been told previously in this magazine (see Microwaves & RF, August 2001, p. 160). In brief, the company was founded in 1957 by Florence's husband, Harold Isaacson, the man who Florence has referred to as "the love of her life." Unfortunately, Harold left this world all too soon, in 1968. But Harold and Florence offered strong evidence that such a thing as "soul mates" was indeed possible, since Florence's devotion to her husband did not fade with his passing.
Faced with life without a husband, and with two small children and the microwave company her husband left behind, few would have blamed Florence for selling the company. After all, few at that time were familiar with the products that the company made, such as waveguide sections and rotary attenuators. But Florence saw ARRA as more than just a building and the people who worked there. She saw it as the legacy left behind by Harold. And because she loved the man, she owed the same devotion to the company he also loved.
Florence didn't give up. The rest, as they say, is history. ARRA has been one of the longest-running components suppliers in the industry. For Florence, ARRA became like family, and her touch is obvious in the family atmosphere that energizes ARRA's employees. Perhaps more important, Florence's strong sense of old-fashioned values, her sense of honesty, integrity, and loyalty, have been passed on to her son, Robert, who now runs the company.
Florence Isaacson could be infuriating at times. Anyone who has worked with her quickly came to know her sense of perfection and detail. Florence knew what she wanted, and would settle for nothing less. But she was also compassionate. No matter how hectic her own life, she would take the time to help, and offer invaluable advice.
Florence was loved by those who knew her and worked with her, and she will be missed. But, as Harold lived on in Florence, Florence will live on in Robert and in ARRA. She will also live on in all of those she touched with her life and her kindness. In the end, Florence will be remembered as a true Microwave Legend.