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About Joseph F. Ware, Jr.

Joseph F. Ware, Jr. was born and raised in Blacksburg, Virginia. He graduated from Virginia Tech in 1937 with a degree in Mechanical/Aeronautical Engineering and obtained his Masters Degree in the same area from Cal Tech. Through his career, he worked primarily at Lockeed as a Fight Test Engineer . While at the “Skunk Works”, he was the Department Manager of Engineering Flight Test on the world’s fastest and highest flying airplanes.

In 1998, the College of Engineering was offered a facility with over 10,000 square feet of space for undergraduate design projects, but could not afford to fully refurbish the building to suit the needs of the student design teams. Upon hearing about the opportunity, Mr. and Mrs. Joe Ware made a significant contribution to the college for the purpose of creating a first-class undergraduate project facility. The first projects moved into the Ware Lab in June of 1998 and the facility has continued to grow ever since.

Joseph Ware Jr. and his wife Jenna take flight in a T-28 in the early 1990's
Joseph Ware Jr. and his wife Jenna take flight in a T-28 in the early 1990's
Joe Ware in WWII plane
Joseph Ware Jr. (left) and co-worker Hermon Salmon (seated in cockpit) running through a test program for a new mission.
portrait of Joe Ware
Joseph Ware, Jr., benefactor of the student project lab.

While working at the Lockheed Martin Skunk Works with engineering legend Kelly Johnson, Joseph Ware, Jr. was involved in the design of multitude of innovative aircraft!

Mr. Ware passed away at the age of 95 on April 23, 2012 after a prolonged illness. He was put to rest in his hometown of Blacksburg, Virginia. Mrs. Ware expressed best what Joe meant to so many by remarking…

“No one could be a better person or live a better life than Joe. Intelligent, benevolent, and wise, he married his love of life with aviation in a way that inspired people to live better and improve their quality of life.

Joe and wife in plane
Joseph Ware Jr. and his wife Jenna flying their Cardinal airplane and doing some Ware Lab P.R.!
Joe Ware at opening of the Ware Lab
Joe Ware at the opening of the Ware lab.
Joe Ware Visits DARPA team
Joe Ware visits with a DARPA autonomous robotics team at the opening of the Ware lab in 1998

He raised a family, taught math, and flew his planes everywhere, all the while helping to defeat Hitler (P-38 and Hudson Bomber) and helping to put the Soviet Union in a position that promoted its dissolution (elint Connies, U-2, and SR-71).

Joe loved his family, flying, every airplane that ever lived, dogs, cats, horses--most anything--teaching, appreciating, evenings by the fireplace, sleeping under the wing of the plane, economics, politics, his Country, and the cause of freedom. Very patriotic, and essential to our country's defense as a world class Flight Test Engineer at the Skunk Works, Lockheed, he also served in the Civil Air Patrol and the Coast Guard Auxiliary.

His technique of choice for success in any endeavor was, in its most basic form: thinking. He used to say: "You can understand anything, and if you can understand it, you can fix it."

He was also a devoted Christian who valued the good in people of any walk of life. No one could live a life better. I pray God makes a special place for Joe in the cosmos, and with that, I do believe Joe has earned his wings.”

Contact the Ware Lab

320 Stanger Street, Mail Code 297, Military Building, 203, Blacksburg, Virginia 24061
Phone: 540-231-5837, The Ware Lab Tour Guides