Victor Abraham Pelson of Bernardsville, New York City, and Florida died Oct. 29, 2012. Born in Newark in 1937, he grew up in Irvington.
Mr. Pelson began his career at Western Electric as an engineer, quickly moving up through the ranks of AT&T and ultimately achieving the position of chairman of global operations and a member of the board of directors. While at AT&T, he navigated the company through multiple challenges, including architecting key aspects of the company’s divestiture of its manufacturing arm following an anti-trust suit filed by the federal government, and the creation of the regional Bell operating companies. He played a key role in establishing AT&T as a global company, and was one of the first American executives to establish manufacturing facilities throughout the world, including in China and Singapore. He retired from AT&T in 1996.
He graduated from Irvington High School in 1955. He received his BS in mechanical engineering from Newark College of Engineering (NJIT) and his MBA from New York University School of Business.
He served as chairman of the New Jersey State Chamber of Congress from 1989 to 1991, and was chairman of the board of NJIT for 14 years, where he also received an honorary doctorate. He served on many boards, including Acterna Corporation, Combustion Engineering, Dun & Bradstreet, Dynatech Corporation, Eaton Corporation, and United Parcel Service, and was a senior adviser to UBS Securities.
He navigated many challenges in his own life as a child and young man, losing his mother as a teenager and his father soon after. Living in poverty, he cared for his disabled sister while working and going to school.
He is survived by his wife of 52 years, Barbara (Meyers); three sons, Mark, Jonathan, and Daniel; and six grandchildren.
Services will be held Dec. 2 at Temple Emanu-El, Manhattan. Arrangements were handled by Bernheim-Apter-Kreitzman Suburban Funeral Chapel, Livingston. Memorial contributions may be made to the Victor A. Pelson Scholarship Fund at NJIT, Newark.