FRANKLIN BEAUMONT JOHNSON, JR.
Franklin Beaumont Johnson, Jr., died Wednesday, December 27, 2006, at Hospice Austin’s Christopher House. He is survived by Pat, his wife of 60 years, as well as three cousins: Eleanor Ayres Parmer of Corpus Christi; Isabel Clark Reed of Austin; and Barbara Clark Denyer of Irvington, New York; and their families and other relatives across the country.
A longtime Austinite, Frank was born in San Antonio, Texas, on February 11, 1923, the son of Lena Clark Johnson and Franklin B. Johnson. Following his father’s death in 1924, his mother returned to Austin, and Frank grew up under the tower light at 22nd and Nueces, next door to his grandparents, Judge and Mrs. S. C. Clark. Frank attended Woolridge Elementary, University Junior High, and Stephen F. Austin High School.
After his high school graduation in 1939, Frank entered The University of Texas at Austin, but his education was interrupted in 1942, while he served as an artillery officer in France and Germany with the 45th (Thunderbird) Division. He served as forward observer and survey and liaison officer with the 157th Infantry Regimental Combat Team (RCT). He was wounded crossing the Danube the day before his RCT liberated Dachau. After being treated as the first Texan to reach a medical team that included Dr. Oliver Suehs from Austin, Frank returned to duty in Munich as the war ended. He received the Bronze Star, the Purple Heart, and other U.S. and French decorations.
Frank returned to “The University” in 1946 with his new bride, Patricia Ann Branson of Harlingen, Texas. He received his B.S. and M.S. degrees in architectural engineering in 1949 and 1951, respectively. He later earned his Ph.D. from UT in 1964.
Frank left Austin after receiving his M.S. degree to work as a project engineer for Anderson Clayton Company of Houston from 1952-55. His work at Anderson Clayton and his previous employment with Frank W. Chappell Consulting Engineers in Dallas involved work on the construction of the upper deck of the Cotton Bowl and the total design and construction of many large structures and plants in the U.S., South America, and Mexico. Throughout his career, Frank continued to serve as a consulting structural engineer on many projects and as consultant to engineering firms throughout the nation. He always enjoyed the challenge of serving as an expert engineering witness in legal conflicts.
Frank began his teaching career at The University of Texas in 1955 as an assistant professor in the Department of Architectural Engineering. During 1960-64, he was the acting chairman of the department and then served as chairman from 1964-69. He retired after 35 years with the School of Engineering and was honored with the title professor emeritus.
He served as both the graduate and undergraduate advisor to architectural engineering students and received the Outstanding Advisor award in 1969. He also served as faculty advisor for the UT Student Chapter of the National Society of Architectural Engineers. He served as national chairman of the Architectural Engineering Division of the American Society for Engineering Education.
Frank was active in and served as chairman of several national professional committees. In addition to his status as a registered professional engineer in Texas, he was a member of Phi Kappa Phi, Tau Beta Pi, and Chi Epsilon honor societies. He also received the Structural Clay Products Institute Award for serving as chair of the First International Conference for Masonry Structural Systems and for research on properties of masonry materials.
Frank received national and international recognition for his research activity in masonry structures and low cost housing at The University of Texas at Austin. He received the International Citation for Outstanding Research from the Clay Products Institute, Washington, D.C., for this work. He was the author and editor of over 20 published papers and reports as well as the author of Designing, Engineering and Constructing with Masonry Products, a book published by Gulf Publishing Company, Houston, Texas.
He worked with American Concrete Institute/American Society of Civil Engineers (ACI/ASCE) Committee 530 and the ACI Committee 531 in developing a comprehensive building code for the design and construction using masonry products. Frank’s results from his own research at UT were included in the development of these improved building codes. The expertise from this research work qualified him to be an expert witness in many cases involving problems with masonry construction.
Frank always enjoyed the support of his wife, Pat, in dealing with his University of Texas duties. She often assisted other wives of faculty as the T-Squares (Engineering Wives Club) served refreshments at commencement receptions. Pat took a personal interest in the graduate students who completed their M.S. and Ph.D. degrees under Frank’s supervision.
Many of these graduate students worked part-time as structural engineers assisting with design of buildings throughout the United States, and Frank was their mentor in this very beneficial experience. This work was done in addition to supervising the many graduate students who were doing their theses and dissertations under his supervision. This was extremely valuable experience as well as part-time employment for quite a number of students in the structural engineering graduate program at UT over the years. Among the many buildings he designed as the structural engineer were Porter Junior High School, Austin, Texas, and St. John’s Elementary School, Austin, Texas, as well as the Business Economics Building at UT.
Frank was a member of the University Lodge, 1190, in addition to other Masonic groups including the Royal Order of Jesters, serving as the organization’s director in 1980. He also served on the Board of Directors of Scottish Rite Dorm for many years. Frank twice served on the Travis County Grand Jury, the second time as foreman.
He was a member of the Austin Club and the Austin Country Club for over 60 years, where he enjoyed golf, card games, and the 19th hole as well as his weekly supper group. At one time during the late fifties, Frank was the “champ ace” at the Austin Country Club with three holes-in-one. He also loved hunting (especially bird hunting) and fishing, but he eventually gave up deer hunting because their eyes reminded him of his bulldogs, which he loved dearly.
In 1988, Frank wrote a letter to Dr. C. Michael Walton, chairman of the civil engineering department, telling him that he planned to retire in August 1990 after completing 35 years of service to the School of Engineering at UT. He wrote the following in closing that letter: “The reward of teaching is not monetary. The real rewards come later and are the many cards, letters, and visits from the alumni with expressions of gratitude for your efforts during their time at The University of Texas.” Franklin B. Johnson, Jr., had a long and very rewarding career, and all of the expressions of gratitude he received were well deserved.
Frank loved his country, his family, and his many friends. He enriched the lives of all who knew and loved him, and he will be sorely missed.
William Powers Jr., President
The University of Texas at Austin
Sue Alexander Greninger, Secretary
The General Faculty
This memorial resolution was prepared by a special committee consisting of Professors Ned H. Burns, David W. Fowler, and Joseph F. Malina.