John W. Keys III, P.E., D.WRE, F.ASCE, died on May 30 at the age of 66 after a plane crash in Utah. Keys received a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology and earned a master’s degree in civil engineering from Brigham Young University. From 1964 to 1979 he was a civil and hydraulic engineer for the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Reclamation, where he worked on issues involving the Great Basin and the basins of the Missouri, Colorado, and Columbia rivers. He retired from the Department of the Interior in 1998, having served for 12 years as the director of its Pacific Northwest region. In 1995 the department honored him with its Distinguished Service Award for his ability to maintain lines of communication and keep interest groups focused on solutions. Keys returned to the Bureau of Reclamation in 2001, when President George W. Bush named him commissioner, a position he held until 2006. Robert W. Johnson, the bureau’s current commissioner, regularly consulted Keys on major decisions. A resident of Moab, Utah, Keys was running for the office of county commissioner at the time of his death.
Jorj O. Osterberg, Ph.D., P.E., Dist.M.ASCE, passed away on June 1 in Denver at the age of 93. The son of Swedish immigrants, Osterberg was raised in the New York City borough of the Bronx. In 1931, at the age of 16, he entered Columbia University, where he attended the first undergraduate and graduate courses to be offered in the new field of soil m-echanics. After obtaining a bachelor’s degree in science in 1935 and a degree in civil engineering the following year, he did graduate work at Harvard, earning a master’s degree in 1937. In 1940 he obtained a doctorate from Cornell University. He then went to work for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Waterways Experiment Station (WES), in Vicksburg, Mississippi. There he invented and patented the WES soil pressure cell (also referred to as the Osterberg Cell or O-cell) and worked with many of the researchers who were doing pioneering work in soil mechanics. In 1942 he taught at the University of Illinois, and the following year he joined the faculty at Northwestern University, where he established the university’s soil mechanics laboratory. He retired from Northwestern in 1985 and moved to Colorado. Osterberg is regarded as a pioneer in the field of geotechnical engineering, and his renown was such that he was called upon to do consulting work for governments, large industrial companies, and firms all around the country as well as abroad. The recipient of numerous honors and awards, Osterberg was elected a member of the National Academy of Engineering in 1975.
Howard M. Post, P.E., F.ASCE, one of the founders of the firm now known as pbs&j, which is based in Tampa, Florida, died on June 10 at the age of 83. Post was an engineering graduate of the University of Miami. He served as an infantryman in World War II and as a member of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers during the Korean War. He retained his connection with the military as a member of the U.S. Army Reserve in the 1970s. Together with three of his colleagues, namely, John D. Buckley, P.E., F.ASCE, George G. Mooney, and Robert P. Schuh, P.E., F.ASCE, he founded Post, Buckley, Mooney & Schuh in 1960. (Mooney left the firm for health reasons, and Alex M. Jernigan became a principal.) The firm has become the 29th largest engineering firm in the United States. A registered professional engineer and land surveyor, Post was pbs&j’s principal in charge of such Florida projects as the Ocean Reef Club, in Key Largo, and the Card Sound Bridge, which links the mainland to the Florida Keys. He retired in 1977 but continued to work on projects into the 1980s. Post served on the Florida Board of Professional Engineers, the board of directors of the Florida Engineering Society, and asce’s Committee on Professional Practice. He also served as a trustee and president of the Pennekamp Coral Reef Institute, a nonprofit organization near Key Largo established to enhance and protect Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park. Memorial donations may be made to the Alzheimer’s Association, 919 Michigan Avenue, Chicago, IL 60611, and to the First Presbyterian Church of Miami Springs, 301 Westward Drive, Miami Springs, FL 33166-5261.
J. Patrick Powers, P.E., F.ASCE, died on May 15 at the age of 81. Powers received a bachelor’s degree from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and then went to work for the New Jersey–based geotechnical contractor Moretrench American Corporation in 1948, beginning what was to become a lifelong career in construction dewatering. He remained with the firm for the next 40 years, 16 of them as its chief engineer and vice president. Later he became a consultant for Mueser Rutledge Consulting Engineers, of New York City, where he stayed active as a consultant and as a mentor to young engineers. Powers authored three books on dewatering technology as well as a number of articles and conference papers on various aspects of groundwater engineering. His contributions to the advancement of his chosen field were signalized by ASCE when it bestowed its Roebling Award on him in 2007.
E.J. “Al” Renier, P.E., F.ASCE, died on March 20 in Eden Prairie, Minnesota, at the age of 87. Renier obtained a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from the University of Michigan, and after serving as a county engineer in Michigan he worked with the Portland Cement Association in New York City, Montreal, and Minneapolis. He helped design, construct, and reconstruct highways throughout the United States and in Canada and had more than 20 technical papers to his credit. He also received numerous awards for his contributions to the concrete industry. During World War II, Renier served in the 5th Engineer Combat Regiment, attaining the rank of lieutenant colonel. He was awarded the Bronze Star among other combat awards and also received a presidential citation and the Reserve Medal. Renier is survived by his wife, Elayne, and by three sons, two daughters-in-law, and two grandchildren.