Robert Otto Etzler, a structural engineer known as an inveterate optimist, has died. He was 90.

Born on the Etzler family farm near Convoy, Ohio, Robert attended Valparaiso University and received his bachelor’s degree in civil engineering in 1952. He began his career at Joy Manufacturing Co. in Michigan City, Indiana, but within several months was inducted into the U.S. Army for service in the Philippines and Korea as a corporal.

Etzler, M.ASCE, after his discharge from the Army, married and worked for the Illinois Highway Department in Ottawa. His professional career progressed with Kingscott Associates in Kalamazoo, Michigan, and Charles Cole & Son in South Bend, Indiana. In 1968 he moved his family to Fort Wayne, where he became chief structural engineer for SchenkelShultz Architecture Inc., an architecture, construction, and design firm. In 1992 he retired as a partner.

As a Purdue University associate professor at the Fort Wayne IUPU extension, he shared his vast knowledge with his students in Applied Structures. Etzler was a proud member of ASCE. He was awarded Citizen Engineer in 1995 by the Engineer Technical Society of Northeastern Indiana. He was also a member of the Northside–Fort Wayne Optimist Club and was named Optimist of the Year in 2005.

Etzler served as an elder and Stephen Ministry leader at Concordia Lutheran Church in Fort Wayne.