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Dr. Bob L. Smith

Dr. Bob L. Smith Manhattan, Kansas – Kansas State University Professor and World War II Navy Veteran
Kansas State University’s well-respected Professor Emeritus of Civil Engineering, Bob L. Smith, Ph.D., P.E. gave his final farewells at age 94, surrounded by family and friends following a long bout with old age. Dr. Smith was very much involved in the pursuits close to his heart and mind; education, educating youth in strategies to realize their full potential and becoming financially savvy, improving the quality of our educators, Legislative Committee work for Alzheimer’s, and living a life built upon the foundation of Christian values through his lifelong church family, Trinity Presbyterian Church.

Dr. Smith was preceded in death by his late wife, Jean Ewing Smith and son Bill Smith. He is survived by his wife Mary, daughter Jan Smith Langton (Scott), sister Betty Jean Fuller, Daughter-in-law Diana Smith, step son John Musselman (Alice), 5 grandchildren, 5 great grandchildren, 4 great, great grandchildren, 3 step grandchildren, 4 step great grandchildren, and multiple nieces and nephews.

Early Life: Bob Lee Smith was born on 1/26/1926 in Stormont Hospital Topeka, Kansas. Dr. Smith grew up in the Great Depression with his parent’s Caleb and Betty Smith, truck gardeners, and little sister, Betty Jean. Remarkably, those hard times were a positive influence. At the ripe old age of 8, Dr. Smith figured out there had to be a better way of making a living. He decided to go to college.

Naval Career: After graduating from Emporia High School in 1943 he enlisted in the Navy V-5 Program and received 16 months of college. His Naval career continued in 1944; Navy’s V-12 Unit, Pre-Midshipmen’s school at Princeton University, Midshipmen at Chicago’s Northwestern University City College, and Honorable Discharge in 1946.

Albert Einstein: While at Princeton, Dr. Smith had the great honor of going to Albert Einstein’s apartment and enjoy tea with this remarkable man.

Education/Career:
1946: Kansas State College for Agriculture and Applied Science Began his teaching career while an undergrad student.
1948: Kansas State College for Agriculture and Applied Science BSCE with honors, inducted into Engineering’s Honorary, Sigma Tau.
1953: Kansas State University MSCE.
1953: Kansas State University Promoted to Associate professor
1958: Awarded the National Science Foundation Faculty Fellowship to work toward his Ph.D.
1964: Purdue University Received Ph.D. in Transportation Engineering.
1964: Kansas State University Promoted to Professor
1966: Texas A&M National Science Foundation Faculty Research Program
1969: Dartmouth University visiting professor at Thayer School of Engineering
1990: American Society of Civil Engineers Edmund Friedman Professional Recognition Award
1992: Kansas State University Retired and named Professor Emeritus

Published Author of 40 articles, most notably “Handbook of Traffic Control Practices for Low Volume Roads for County Engineers” published by Kansas Department of Transportation and “Practical Highway Esthetics” published by the American Society of Civil Engineers.

Served as the executive secretary of the Kansas Water Resources Board in 1961. Directed the Annual Kansas Transportation Engineering Conference since 1964 till his retirement and served as a consultant for a series of national seminars on Dynamic Design for Highway Safety during the 1970’s. Served as the Co-Director of the Traffic Assistance Service for the Kansas project since 1979 and conducted and participated in seminars and short courses statewide.

Served on 18 committees including Transportation Research Board, American Society of Civil Engineers, and Institute of Transportation Engineers and was a board Member of Meadowlark Hills Trustees and Manhattan City planning.

Bob loved his Canadian fishing trips with his buddies, hunting deer and turkey, Wildcat sports, his bird feeders, and teaching. But nothing pleased him more than speaking with former students who expressed gratitude for the education they received while in his classes.

A Celebration of Life Service will be at 10:00 a.m. on Friday August 28, 2020 at the Trinity Presbyterian Church, Manhattan, Kansas with Pastor Jim Hawley officiating. Inurnment with full military honors will follow in the Sunrise Cemetery, Manhattan, Kansas.

Memorial gifts in care of the Yorgensen-Meloan-Londeen Funeral Home, Manhattan, KS.
Kansas State University Foundation; Civil Engineering Department
Trinity Presbyterian Church Manhattan, Kansas

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