Pioneering Cable Engineer Michael Jeffers Dies At 90

Michael F. Jeffers, one of the pioneering engineers in the cable TV industry, died Monday (May 7) at age 90, his family said.

He began his career at Jerrold Electronics in 1951 and retired from General Instrument Corp. in 1987, but continued to consult and work with cable companies and serve on National Cable & Telecommunications Associations panels for several years after that, his son, Michael F. Jeffers Jr., said. "Cable TV was his professional life," his son said. "He was proud of his accomplishments and of his many colleagues and associates, some of whom (Frank Ragone in particular) who remain his friend until this very last day of his life."

Jeffers's career is chronicled in this oral history at the Cable Center's Barco Library. His industry accolades include a Vanguard Award for Development from the NCTA in 1979.

He held, alone or with others, at least 10 patents related to the cable industry, including one associated with early video games.

He was the son of the late Anna Jeffers and George Jeffers of Philadelphia, Pa. He was preceded in death by his brother George and his sisters Ann Jeffers and Helen Jeffers Rothwell.

He lived most of his adult life in Flourtown, Pa., with his wife, Margaret A. (Byrnes) Jeffers, known to all as Peggy Anne or Peg, who died in August 2008. He is survived by five children: Michael (Georgiana), Pat (John Devlin), Pegianne (Bill Drayton), David (Marie), and Jim (Laura). He leaves 14 grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.

Jeffers was a World War II veteran who served as a Navy torpedo bomber pilot as a member of squadron VC-70 "Scorpions" on the escort aircraft carrier USS Salamaua in the South Pacific, his son Michael said. After the war, he served for several years in the Navy reserve, flying out of Willow Grove, Pa., Naval Air Station.

A funeral Mass will be held at 10 a.m., Thursday, May 10, at St. Genevieve's Church, Flourtown, Pa. There will be a reception for friends and family at 9 a.m. at the church.

Kent Gibbons

Kent has been a journalist, writer and editor at Multichannel News since 1994 and with Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He is a good point of contact for anything editorial at the publications and for Before joining Multichannel News he had been a newspaper reporter with publications including The Washington Times, The Poughkeepsie (N.Y.) Journal and North County News.