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A tribute to Dr. Walter Masing
Prof. Dr. rer.nat, Dr. oec, h.c. Dr. Ing. E.H.
Honorary President of DGQ

His leadership, advice, integrity, warm-heartedness, humour, entrepreneurial and social engagement will be a great loss to the German and global quality communities.

Condolences in the form of cards, letters or emails can be sent to:

Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Qualitat August-Schanz-Str. 21 A D - 60433 Frankfurt am Main Germany

Telephone Number: +49 (0) 69 9 54 24-158
Fax: +49 (0) 69 9 54 24-234
Email: info@dgq.de


Obituary of the president of the German Society for Quality e.V. (DGQ)

By: Dr. Jurgen Varwig, President of DGQ and
Dr. Wolfgang M. Kaerkes, Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Qualitat e.V.

Prof. Dr. Walter Masing, Honorary President of the German Society for Quality since 1983 died in the night of 29th of March 2004 in his home town of Erbach in Odenwald. Dr. Masing was one of the great personalities in the area of national and international quality management.

Born in 1915 in St. Petersburg in Russia, masing studied experimental physics at the Universities of Dorpat (today Tartu in Estonial), Rostock and Leipzig, where he completed his doctorate in 1940 and began his professional career as research and development manager at the Laboratory for Electrophysics in Berlin. During this time he met the technical visionary Wernher von Braun, a meeting which was to exercise a decisive influence on the rest of his life. Under von Braun's direction, Masing participated in the technology of electronic regulation and control from the very hour of its inception. He continued his career as Director of the Research Institute for Applied Physics in Germany.

He used his knowledge in order to take an active part in the reconstruction after the Second World War. On the day of the currency refer, 21 June 1948, he established the company Dr. Masing & Co. GmbH in Erbach im Odenwald as joint shareholder and Technical Director. The Masing control system quickly became a synonym for the quality associated with products made in Germany and one reason for this may have been that among others he personally got to know W. Edwards Deming in 1953 and Paul C. Clifford in 1955 and understood how to integrate their statistical and quality approaches in his company philosophy. This meant that he was able in 1969 to sell his company, where he was above all revered by his own staff of 500, to Robert Bosch Industrieusrustung GmbH as the market leader in its field. He sold his shares in Masing-Kirkhof GmbH in Dietzenback near Frankfurt, a factory specializing in welding machines, to the Swedish ESAB Group.

He used the personal freedom he had gained in order to devote himself even more to the propagation of the concept of quality. For in the same way as he had recognized the importance of quality for his own company, he recognized it early in relation to Europe as an industrial society, and pushed the implementation of quality systems forward over a wide area.

From 1957 to 1963, Masing was Vice President of the DGQ, which had been founded in 1952, and was then President for almost 20 years up to 1983. In 1956 the European Organization for Quality (EOQ) was established in Bern, with Masing as Founder President. Up to 1976 he was a Permanent Member of the Steering Committee and is the first European Honorary Member of this organization, for in 1996 he was honored by the EOQ with the first-ever award of the gold medal in recognition of his "invaluable contributions" to quality management in Europe in the form of the "Georges Borel Medal".