Louis A. Zanoni, 85, co-inventor of the liquid crystal display (LCD) died on October 20 in the comfort of his home in Ewing, NJ.
Lou grew up in Trenton’s first housing project, attended Trenton HS, then joined the Navy and served as a radio operator in Naples, Italy during the Korean War. After his discharge, he enrolled at the RCA Institutes in NYC (now Technical Career Institutes, Inc.) and studied electronics technology and mathematics. In 2009 he was honored at the school’s Centennial Celebration with the presentation of the Marconi Medal as a distinguished alumnus. Upon graduation with distinction in 1957, he was hired by RCA Laboratories. During his 13 years there, he authored and co-authored more than 30 patents, received two Industrial Research Awards and the highest scientific award of the corporation, the David Sarnoff Outstanding Achievement Award in Science, for “Basic Studies of Liquid Crystals and Imaginative Applications to Practical Displays”.
In 1970, Lou left RCA to become one of the co-founders of Optel Corporation where they designed and manufactured the first LCD watch. Several years later he started Zantech Inc., an electronic watch consulting company. Lou conducted training seminars, wrote two books and produced training videos for leading companies in the industry (Seiko and Movado, among others). In 1992 with his son Greg and wife Mary, he founded WZBN-TV, a local broadcast station in Mercer County. On May 2, 1993 WZBN-TV broadcast its first local newscast. Lou, son Greg and daughter Doreen operated the station until 2012 when the station was sold. WZBN and Lou have been honored with numerous awards for excellence by the Community Broadcasters Association.
In 2000, Lou was invited to Washington, DC to mark the placement of an LCD watch in the White House Millennial Time Capsule. In 2006, the development of the LCD was named as an IEEE Milestone in Electrical Engineering and Computing and an award was given to the team that pioneered the technology. A bronze plaque celebrating the occasion and listing Lou’s name was mounted at the entrance to the Sarnoff Laboratories in Princeton.
Lou has been a mainstay of the Rotary Club of Hamilton Township since 1983 and is a Paul Harris Fellow. He enjoyed many sets of tennis through the years, many operas, much travel, many great meals and wines and, most of all, the love and esteem of family and friends. During his Navy days in Italy, Lou was able to connect with his many aunts, uncles and cousins living in the Verona region of Italy. These relationships forged in the 1950's remained important to him throughout his life.
Lou is predeceased by his parents, Carlo and Caterina (Peretti) Zanoni; his first wife, Mary (Petroni) Zanoni; his son-in-law, Alex Damico; his brothers and wives, Andrew (Clyda), Warren (Nellie), and Arthur Zanoni; and his brothers-in-law and wives, Albert (Jenny) and Benny (Maryrita) Petroni; he is survived by his wife, Patricia (Carlin) White; his daughters, Doreen Damico and Dr. Diana Zanoni-Potts and her husband, Dan Potts; his son, Greg and his wife, Brenda Zanoni; his sister, Sister Lucy Zanoni M.P.F.; his grandchildren, Matthew Damico, Nicholas Potts, Nina Potts, Gianna Zanoni, Tyler Zanoni, Cecilia White and Owen White; his great-granddaughter, Gianna Marie Damico; and his many nieces, nephews, cousins and extended family.
Relatives and friends may call on Saturday from 9AM to 11AM at Our Lady of Good Counsel Church, 137 W Upper Ferry Road, Ewing, NJ 08628. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated immediately following at 11AM.
Entombment will follow at St. Mary’s Mausoleum in Hamilton.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Rotary Club of Hamilton Township Charitable Foundation, PO Box 2576, Hamilton Square, NJ 08690.