Leo Roy Beard, civil engineering professor emeritus, died in Austin, Texas on March 21, 2009, at the age of ninety-one.
Professor Beard was born in West Baden, Indiana, on April 6, 1917. His family moved to San Gabriel, California, in 1922, where he grew up with five siblings. He attended parochial schools, Alhambra High School, Pasadena Junior College, and California Institute of Technology, from which he graduated with a B.S. in civil engineering in 1939. He married, in 1939, Marian Jeanette Wagar with whom he had three children. Marian died in 1973, and in 1974, Roy married Marjorie Pierce Wood of Austin. He is survived by his wife, Marjorie; his sister Margaret (Peggy) Nougier of Laguna Beach, California; his daughter Patricia Huntzicker of Portland, Oregon; his son Thomas Beard of Reno, Nevada; and his son James Beard of Hurricane, Utah; by Marjorie’s daughters Patricia Fowler and Ann Bonner of Richland Springs, Texas, Kay De Vaux of Hot Springs, Arkansas, and son Thomas Wood of Austin, as well as twenty-two of his and Marj’s grandchildren and six great grandchildren.
Roy Beard had an illustrious career with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers from 1939 to 1972, retiring as founding director of the Corps’ Hydrologic Engineering Center in Davis, California. He was known for his pioneering work on the application of statistics to hydrologic engineering. Following his retirement from the Corps of Engineers in 1972, he joined The University of Texas at Austin as lecturer and was appointed as professor of civil engineering in 1976. Roy served as director of the Center for Research in Water Resources from 1972 until his retirement from UT in 1981. Subsequently, he joined the engineering consulting firm of Espey, Huston, and Associates.
Professor Beard lectured at universities and professional organizations throughout the world. He was a visiting professor at the University of California (Berkeley) and Utah State University and lectured at the University of California (Davis). He was a member of the American Geophysical Union (AGU), the International Association of Hydrologic Sciences, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the International Water Resources Association, a Fellow and Honorary Member of the American Society of Civil Engineering (ASCE), and Honorary Member of the American Waterworks Association. Professor Beard served as chairman of the ASCE Water Resources Planning & Management Division, president of the AGU Section of Hydrology, editor-in-chief of Water International
, and managing editor of the International Journal of Hydrology
His many contributions to civil engineering were recognized by his receiving important awards and designations. In 1975, he was elected to the National Academy of Engineering. In 2001, he received the Lifetime Achievement Award from Environmental and Water Resources Institute of the American Society of Civil Engineers for “a life-long and eminent contribution to the environment and water resources engineering disciplines through practice, research and public service.” He was designated an honorary diplomate of the American Academy of Water Resources Engineers (AAWRE) in 2005 as a member of the first class of honorary diplomates. In 2007, he received the Ven Te Chow Award of the American Society of Civil Engineers “for advancing knowledge in hydrologic engineering in systems techniques for reservoir regulation, statistical methods for streamflow frequency analysis, flood hydrograph computation, and the development of computer based methods for hydrologic computations.”
Professor Beard stated:
Don’t cry for me. There could hardly be a better life than that which mine has been. Starting with wonderful parents and three older siblings (later two younger siblings), I have been blessed with an abundant and happy life, including two wonderful marriages, three children of my own, four step-children, and so many friends, including professional associates throughout the world. The world has been full of good for me. My cup runneth over a thousand fold!
Professor Beard was designated professor emeritus of civil engineering on September 1, 1987.