Keith F. Faherty, author of a seminal book on wood engineering, a retired professor of civil engineering at Marquette University, and a former ASCE Wisconsin state president, has died. He was 89.
He chaired ASCE’s National Committee for Wood for three years, having written the book on it: Wood Engineering and Construction was the complete source one needed for information, formulas, procedures, and examples for designing virtually any type of wood structure or component. It has remained an indispensable handbook.
Faherty, Ph.D., Dist.M.ASCE, was elected to the Society’s Honorary Member status in 1995. He attended the Wisconsin Mining School (now UW-Platteville), graduating with a degree in civil engineering in 1954, then moved to Genoa, Ohio, to work for U.S. Gypsum (USG, manufacturer of construction materials).
When he realized in 1957 that he wanted to pursue a career in teaching, he took a position as a professor at the Wisconsin Institute of Technology (Mining School) in Platteville, which became the University of Wisconsin–Platteville. Faherty was the last surviving faculty member of the old Mining School.
While he taught at UW-Platteville, he obtained a master’s degree from the University of Illinois in 1962 and later a doctorate from the University of Iowa, both in structural engineering. He left Platteville in 1979 to teach at Fresno State University, but returned to Wisconsin in 1981 to finish his academic career at Marquette University. He served as department chair at both UW-Platteville and Marquette.
Faherty also served as the local ASCE section and branch chair in addition to his stint as Wisconsin state president. Over the years, he lectured internationally and authored numerous articles, papers, and texts from his expertise in the field of wood structures.
He served the communities in which he lived. He was active for 16 years with the Boy Scouts as a scoutmaster and troop committee chair. He was a past president of the Jaycees and served on many public councils and committees.
His passion for covered wood bridges continued in retirement. He and his wife, Joan, collected data for more than 900 such bridges on their trips around the United States.
Faherty received Marquette’s Outstanding Teacher Award. He was an avid fan of Marquette basketball and all the professional Wisconsin sports teams.