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Frederick H. Rohles, Jr.

Frederick H. Rohles, Jr. Frederick Henry Rohles, Jr. age 99, died December 30, 2019, at Meadowlark Hills.

He was born December 23, 1920, in Chicago, IL, the son of Fred and Anna Rohles.

On November 9, 1943, he was united in marriage to Mertyce Bliss at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in San Antonio, TX; this union was blessed with three children: Nancy, Frederick H. III “Rick”, and Susan.

He grew up in Evanston, IL, and graduated from Evanston Township High School and attended DePauw University in Greencastle, IN, where he was a member of the Delta Tau Delta Fraternity. He transferred to Roosevelt University in Chicago where he received his B.S. degree 1942. He received a M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Texas (Austin) in 1950 and 1956, respectively. In 1942, he enlisted in the Army Air Corps and was assigned to the Psychological Research Unit (PRU) in San Antonio. He went to Officers Candidate School and was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in 1942. He was reassigned to the PRU and later to the PRU in Mississippi; he saw duty at USAF Aeromedical Laboratory in Dayton as Chief of the Unusual Environment Section this led him into space work. He was appointed to the Joint Armed Forces Biosatellite Coordination Committee and while with that group presented a paper at the Fifth Annual Meeting of the American Astronautical Society that stressed the need that when lower animals were sent into space, behavioral and performance measurements should accompany the traditional physiological measurements in order to obtain a complete assessment of the effects of the space environment on the organism. He pointed out that his Dayton group had developed a model and equipment for measuring behavior in mice during space flight. This work marked him as a major participant in a conference at The University of Virginia entitled “Biological Payloads in Space Flight.” Shortly after this, he and his section were moved to the Aeromedical Research Laboratory in Holloman AFB, NM, where the Air Force had a sizeable colony of chimpanzees. He designed the performance tasks and supervised the training of the chimpanzees that participated in the Project Mercury Space flights. In the course of this work he compiled a topical bibliography on the chimpanzee; its second edition published in 1972 contained over 4200 references. While in the service he was an adjunct professor at the University of Alaska and later at Baylor University. He retired from the USAF with the rank of Lt. Colonel in 1963 and immediately joined the faculty at Kansas State University until his retirement in 1986. He held a joint appointment of Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Psychology in addition to being Director of the Institute for Environmental Research. Dr. Rohles was a Fellow in the American Psychological Association; an Associate Fellow in Aerospace Medical Association; a Fellow in the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society; a Fellow in the American Society of Heating Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE); and, a charter member and Fellow of the Aerospace Human Factors Association.

He was on the Editorial Advisory Board on the Journal Of Environmental Psychology and the Editorial Review Board of Environment and Behavior. He is listed in Who’s Who in the Midwest, Who’s Who in Biomedical Engineers, American Men of Science, Jane’s Who’s Who in Aviation and Aerospace and in the first Edition of Who’s Who in Frontiers of Science and Technology. He published in the popular press and authored over 150 technical papers, one of which was selected by ASHRAE as the most outstanding technical paper in 1985.

He was the recipient of the Raymond F. Longacre Award presented annually by the Aerospace Medical Association for “outstanding accomplishments in the psychological and psychiatric aspects of aviation medicine.” In 1990, the Holladay Distinguished Fellow Award presented annually by ASHRAE to a Fellow grade member who has distinguished himself through research and engineering. That same year the Kansas State College Engineering and Institute for Environmental Research established the Fred Rohles Distinguished Lecture Series in his honor. In 2002, he won first place in the prose division in a contest sponsored by the Kansas Authors Guild. The genealogical chart he developed for identifying five generations was published in the 1992 Old Farmers Almanac, again in their 1998 Appointment calendar and the third time in their 2000 Millennium Primer. In 2008, he received the award for the best article published in the 2006 ASHRE Journal.

Dr. Rohles was on the Board of the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce and headed their committee on aviation affairs. He served on the aviation committee for the City of Manhattan. He was an Elder in the Presbyterian Church and a member of the American Legion.

He was an ardent fisherman and had an article published in, IN Fisherman.

He was preceded in death by his wife Mertyce on October 6, 2019.

Survivors include his three children: Nancy Johnson of Topeka, Susan Grapengater and her husband Rick of Tulsa, OK, and Frederick H. Rohles, III “Rick” and his wife Kim of Hoffman Estates, IL; seven grandchildren: Susan Unger (David), David Denning (Heather), Kim Harrigan (Matt), Brad Rohles (Gina), Peter Rohles (Susan), Mark Grapengater (Stacey), and Laura Ellison (Ashley); and 11 great-grandchildren.

Memorial services will be held at 10:30 A.M. Saturday, January 4th, at the College Avenue United Methodist Church with Reverend Dr. Dennis L. Ackerman and Reverend Mark Grapengater officiating. Private family inurnment will be in the Sunrise Cemetery in Manhattan,

Online condolences may be left for the family by clicking on "Send Condolences" on this page.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Kansas State University Foundation for the Fred and Mertyce Rohles Speaker Series. Contributions may be left in care of the Yorgensen-Meloan-Londeen Funeral Home, 1616 Poyntz Avenue, Manhattan, Kansas 66502.

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