Milton Benjamin Badt Jr., 90, passed away peacefully Nov. 2 with his beloved wife Lucia by his side.
Milton was born in Elko, Nevada, where he excelled in science, languages and music as a young student, passions that stayed with him throughout his life. He won the prestigious Westinghouse Science Award, achieved the rank of Eagle Scout and spent memorable summers working as a cowhand at his beloved Uncle Selby’s ranch.
He attended Harvard University and Stanford University, where he studied engineering and languages and then went on to serve in the United States Navy during the Korean War as an officer aboard the USS Helena. His knowledge of radar, electrical systems, gift for teaching and ability to speak fluent French, German, Spanish and Italian led him to a 32-year career with AT&T Bell Labs, Western Electric and Lucent Technology, including a stint at the 1980 Summer Olympics where he was a technical translator for the international press corps.
It was his fluency in Italian that brought him to Udine, Italy as part of the NATO Alliance where, while on a lunch break from teaching NIKE radar systems at the Aviano Air Force Base, he met the love of his life, Lucia Margarita Giacomini.
Milton’s career with AT&T included assignments in Germany, North Carolina, Utah and finally New Jersey. Those who met Milton at work or in the community saw a man who was always kind, generous, intelligent, witty, caring and who never had a bad word to say about anyone. At home, he taught his children to enjoy music, mathematics and literature, how to use the dreaded slide rule, electronics, solve word and math puzzles, play the ukulele, do carpentry, make puns, and appreciate his American West roots.
He was also proud of teaching Lucia to play and excel at bridge, a game they loved and played throughout their marriage; he relished telling friends his Luci had surpassed his bridge skills.
He was president of the Toastmasters Club, a volunteer with AT&T Pioneers (where he helped build radios in stuffed animals for children with speech difficulties), member of the Freemasons and, in addition to his engineering work, taught languages at Morris County College. After retirement from Lucent, Milton continued his love of teaching as a substitute teacher in Morristown and science teacher at DeVry Institute. His students included Haitian immigrants and his compassion and respect for them compelled him to learn Patois French.
Above all, Milton enjoyed spending time with Luci and his family and neighbors. His kindness, curiosity, generosity, gentility and respect for others are the lessons he taught us all.
Milton was predeceased by his parents Gertrude and the Honorable Milton Badt Sr., Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Nevada. He is survived by his wife Lucia; his daughter Katy and son-in-law Tony Frissora of Fair Haven; daughter Karin in Paris, France; his son Steven and daughter-in-law Alice Weiss of Takoma Park, Maryland; and his adoring grandchildren, Paul, Michael, Henry and Dahlia, who will miss their Nonno and his jokes tremendously.
Milton is also survived by his sister Nancy Drake, niece Robin Fitch and nephew J. R. Drake and, across the Atlantic, his extended family in Italy, Austria and Switzerland, including Piera and Mario Tonello, Mimi DeCecco, Mirella Giacomini and nieces and nephews who loved their Zio/Uncle Milton.
Milton’s family wants to express gratitude to the caring staff at the Shrewsbury Brandywine Assisted Living, including their heartfelt enjoyment of the exuberant “Hi Ho Silver!” greeting he gave to all.
A memorial gathering celebrating Milton’s life will be held Sunday, Dec. 23 from 1 to 3 p.m. with remembrances and shared stories at 2:30 p.m. at Thompson Memorial Home, 310 Broad St., Red Bank.
As Milton would say, “See you later, Alligator. In a while, Crocodile.”