Obituary: Dudley Bradstreet Killam Jr.

Dudley Bradstreet Killam Jr.
Dudley Bradstreet Killam Jr

Dudley Bradstreet Killam Jr. of La Cañada Flintridge, father, husband, veteran and engineer, passed away on Thanksgiving at the age of 70 from a heart attack, surrounded by family. Born Oct. 15, 1947 in Reading, Massachusetts, to Dudley and Flora Killam, he attended high school at Haverhill High School near Atkinson, New Hampshire. He obtained a bachelor’s in chemistry and mathematics from the University of New Hampshire as an ROTC distinguished graduate and then completed master’s degrees in applied statistics and image science at Rochester Institute of Technology, also studying meteorology and analytical chemistry at Texas A&M. Dudley was truly a lifelong learner. He served for 30 years in the Air Force, rising to the rank of colonel and managing satellite programs, including the $4.3 billion Defense Support Program, which tracks missile launches via infrared imaging. He earned the Legion of Merit in acknowledgement of the crucial expertise he brought to this project and many others.
Dudley then worked at Jet Propulsion Laboratory in multiple roles for several years in Mission Success and Special Projects. When he retired, he settled into a quiet life surrounded by numerous dogs and cats, his “four-legged friends.” He enjoyed smelling the flowers in Descanso Gardens, walking with his pets and wife around town, and was an avid hobbyist in genealogy and amateur weather observation. His friends remember his intense dedication to his country and his unique colloquial catchphrases, which became lovingly known as “Killam lingo.” His family remembers his avid storytelling, his unceasing need to help others (“He never knew a stranger”), and his complete selflessness in every situation.
He is survived by his wife, retired Air Force Maj. Jennifer Killam, his daughter Emily and his son Daniel, and his white German Shepherd Lilly. He will be dearly missed and fondly remembered by countless family, co-workers and friends.
In lieu of flowers, please send a donation to the International Waldenstrom’s Macroglobulinemia Foundation ( to support research into his wife’s rare form of lymphoma. A memorial celebrating his life will be held on Saturday, Dec. 9, at 11 a.m. at La Cañada Presbyterian Church.