A. Hakimoglu, 80, founder of Aydin Corp.

Posted: September 07, 2007

Ayhan Hakimoglu, of Penn Valley, a Turkish immigrant who founded a multimillion-dollar communications company, died Aug. 22, two days after his 80th birthday, at Lankenau Hospital of a stroke.

Mr. Hakimoglu founded Aydin Corp. in Horsham in 1967. His company manufactured radar and telecommunications equipment for the defense industry, including technology used in the first Gulf War. He retired from the firm, which is now L-3 Communications Aydin Corp., in 1997.

He ran his business with "passion and vigor," said daughter Leyla Nedin, and displayed the same enthusiasm playing baccarat in Atlantic City. As a high-roller, she said, he was picked up in casino limos stocked with liquor and given first-class treatment.

He stopped gambling in the early 1990s, after losing large sums, and in 1993 he sued Caesars and the Trump Taj Mahal on the grounds that casinos "maliciously enticed" him to gamble while he was visibly drunk on gin martinis. One suit was settled, his daughter said, and the other was dismissed.

Mr. Hakimoglu earned a bachelor's degree in engineering from Robert College in Istanbul, Turkey. After earning a master's degree in engineering from the University of Cincinnati in 1950, he returned to Turkey, married Meral Cumaoglu, and started a family. In 1955, the Hakimoglus immigrated to New York with $50.

He found work as a project engineer in New York and in 1962 established his first company, Dynaplex Corp., in Princeton. He sold Dynaplex in 1966.

Mr. Hakimoglu and his first wife, with whom he had four daughters, divorced in 1977.

In 1982, he married Geraldine Hennessy. They divorced in 1994.

He had been married to his third wife, Racida Elmir Hakimoglu, since 1997. They have a son, Ayhan Jr.

For many years, Mr. Hakimoglu, who became a U.S. citizen in 1964, was active in Republican politics. In 1988, President Ronald Reagan invited him to a White House dinner honoring the Turkish president.

In addition to his wife, son, daughter Leyla Nedin, and former wives, Mr. Hakimoglu is survived by his three other daughters, Incigul O'Brien, Debbie Cueto, and Zeynep.

A funeral will be held at 1 p.m. tomorrow at the Chapel of Peace at West Laurel Hill Cemetery in Bala Cynwyd. Burial will be in the cemetery.

Contact staff writer Sally A. Downey at 215-854-2913 or sdowney@phillynews.com.

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