Obituaries: June 2013

June 1, 2013


ROALD “RALPH” HAESTAD, P.E., BCEE, F.ASCE, founder and chairman emeritus of Waterbury, Connecticut-headquartered Roald Haestad, Inc. (RHI), well known and highly regarded for its many significant public works engineering projects throughout New England, passed away on Memorial Day, May 27, at the age of 90. Born in Kristiansand, Norway, Haestad was active in the Norwegian resistance during World War II and, for his service, was recognized after the war by the British Admiralty. As a result of his distinguished efforts, he was offered U.S. citizenship and a scholarship in the civil engineering program at the City College of New York (CCNY). Upon graduation, Haestad became a principal at Malcolm Pirnie Engineers, where he was the lead project engineer and personally planned, designed, constructed, and reconstructed over 200 dams throughout the New England and Mid-Atlantic region, ensuring their safe and effective operation and longevity. Among the earthen embankment dams he constructed were the Upper Shepaug Reservoir Dam and the Chamberlain, Mill River, and Trinity dams. In 1971, Haestad and his wife, Jean Munson Haestad, founded RHI, providing consulting services to municipal, state, and federal government and private clients in the areas of water supply, dams, roadways, storm water, water distribution systems, wastewater collection systems, geographic information systems (GIS), and surveying, including the Global Positioning System (GPS) and bathymetry. Haestad, who earned the ASCE Connecticut Section’s Benjamin Wright Award and the American Water Works Association’s Fuller Award, is past president of the Connecticut Section National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE) and an NSPE board member. A life member of ASCE and the American Water Works Association, Haestad was also a member of the National Society of Professional Engineers, the Connecticut Society of Civil Engineers, the International Society of Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering, the International Commission on Large Dams, the Canadian Dam Safety Association, the New England Water Works Association, the International Water Supply Association, the Water Environment Federation, the American Concrete Institute, the American Society for Testing and Materials, the Society of American Military Engineers, the American Institute of Steel Construction, the American Public Works Association, and the Association of State Flood Plain Managers.


ROBERT “BOB” TAYLOR LAWSON, P.E., F.ASCE, past vice-president of ASCE, past president of ASCE’s San Francisco Section, and founder of the Novato, California-headquartered geotechnical engineering firm, Harding Lawson Associates, passed away on April 24 at the age of 86. Born 6 weeks premature on July 18, 1926, in Chehalis, Washington, Lawson was not expected to live. But demonstrating the tenacity and vigor that would come to characterize his success in business and engineering, he not only survived, he thrived. An outstanding student, upon graduation from Kent High School, Lawson matriculated into the prestigious Navy V-12 program, during which he studied civil engineering at Miami University of Ohio, the University of Michigan, and the University of Washington, where in 1948 he received his bachelor’s degree in civil engineering. After serving as a Marine Corps instructor in Quantico, Virginia, Lawson began his career as a civil engineer with the Los Angeles, California-headquartered Dames and Moore Group, where he eventually became a partner in the firm. In 1960 he joined Richard “Dick” Harding and Gene Miller to start a new company, Harding, Miller and Lawson, specializing in geotechnical engineering. After Miller left, the firm became known as Harding Lawson Associates (HLA) and eventually grew to become one of the largest private geotechnical engineering firms in the Western U.S., with offices in Guam, Honolulu, Anchorage, Reno, Houston, Santa Rosa, Concord, San Francisco, and Tustin. Among the reasons for the firm’s success was Lawson’s unwavering commitment to providing the highest quality engineering services available. Among the company’s most successful and noteworthy projects were the Larkspur Ferry Terminal in Larkspur, California, and development of the Embarcadero Center, a commercial complex of 5 office towers and 2 hotels on a 9.8-acre site located off the Embarcadero, in the financial district of San Francisco, California. In 1979, Larson received the ASCE San Francisco Section’s H.J. Brunnier Award, presented annually to recognize outstanding service to the Section or service to the civil engineering profession.


WALTER E. WOODFORD, JR., P.E., F.ASCE, who was instrumental in the design and building of the City of Columbia, Maryland, passed away on May 22 at the age of 88. Born December 24, 1924, in Centreville, Maryland, Woodford graduated from Centreville High School in 1941. He enrolled in Washington College, but his education was interrupted by World War II and he enlisted in the U.S. Army, serving as Technical Sergeant in the 1395th Engineer Construction Battalion during the campaign in the Pacific theatre. Following his release from active duty, Woodford returned to school where he earned his bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Johns Hopkins University in 1950. After earning his P.E. and his Registered Professional Land Surveyor license, Woodford went to work for the Maryland State Roads Commission/State Highway Administration as construction project engineer from 1950 to 1957. During that time, Woodford was in charge of many important highway and bridge projects in the state, including US 50, US 301, MD 213, MD 404, MD 331, MD 309, MD 33, MD 327, MD 333, and MD 313. From 1957 to 1960 he served as district construction engineer and was responsible for all state highway and bridge construction in Talbot, Caroline, Queen Anne’s, Kent, and Cecil counties, from the Choptank River to the Susquehanna River. In 1973, Woodford left the State Highway Administration and moved into private practice, where he became vice president and director of engineering for the Rouse Company, completing 1 of the major engineering projects of his career, the design and construction of Columbia, Maryland. From 1987 to 2010, Woodford was employed as a private consultant in planning, zoning, development, traffic studies, project administration, and general civil engineering for Columbia; the restoration of historic Stevensville, Maryland; the zoning ordinance for Queenstown, Maryland; and the development of the Centreville (Maryland) Day Care Center. A member of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Centreville, Woodford received the Priest’s Service Recognition Award in 2010.
Leave a Reply

— required *

— required *