DR. ROBERT F. “BOB” BARFIELD SR.
Dr. Robert F. “Bob” Barfield Sr. died Oct. 19, 2020, in Tuscaloosa. He was 87. Barfield received his doctorate in engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology. He was the dean of The University of Alabama College of Engineering and also served in the Marine Corps. Barfield was a fan of UA football and the Astros and Braves Major League Baseball teams. He was a member of Covenant Presbyterian Church. The UA College of Engineering has an endowed professorship in mechanical engineering in his honor.
DR. SAMUEL C. GAMBRELL JR.
Dr. Samuel C. Gambrell Jr. died Oct. 31, 2020, in Tuscaloosa. He was 85. Born in Owings, South Carolina, Gambrell graduated from Clemson University with an engineering bachelor’s degree in 1957 and master’s degree in 1961. He was a pitcher on the baseball team and a member of several honor societies. Gambrell was also commissioned as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army and served on active duty in the Air Defense Artillery Branch from 1957-1959. After 30 years of service in the South Carolina Army National Guard and the U.S. Army Reserves, he retired as a colonel and was awarded the Legion of Merit and the Army Commendation Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster. Gambrell earned a doctorate in theoretical and applied mechanics from West Virginia University in 1965. At The University of Alabama, he served as assistant dean of engineering for research and graduate studies and director of the Engineering Placement Bureau. Gambrell retired in 1996 as professor emeritus of engineering mechanics and was later named an Aerospace Engineering and Mechanics Distinguished Fellow. He completed research contracts with NASA for six years and spent two summers working at Marshall Space Flight Center. The Society for Experimental Mechanics gave him the F. Zandman Award in 1994 and 1997 because of his research on stress analysis of shuttle components. The Alabama Society of Professional Engineers named him Professional Engineer of the Year in 1990 and ASPE Professional Engineer of the Year in Education in 1991. Gambrell served as vice president of the ASPE Central region for one term, and he was president of the Southeastern section of the American Society for Engineering Education in 1982-83. Gambrell was registered as a professional engineer in Alabama. He was active in his church and community serving on several committees, clubs and societies.
HARRY H. HOLLIMAN
Harry Hill Holliman died July 7, 2020, in Kingsport, Tennessee. He was 78. He studied chemical engineering at The University of Alabama and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in 1963 and a master’s degree in 1966. From 1963-1965, he served in the U.S. Army as a chemical officer. Holliman took a job as a chemical engineer at Eastman Chemical Company in 1966 and worked in several positions before retiring in 1999 as president of the Tennessee Eastman Division. He was named a Distinguished Engineering Fellow of the UA College of Engineering in 1988. In 1999, Holliman was inducted into the State of Alabama Engineering Hall of Fame.
Sanjeev Lahoti died Oct. 26, 2020, in Yamhill, Oregon. He was 56. Born in Mumbai, India, he graduated from Amravati University in 1987 with a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering. Lahoti later graduated with a master’s degree in chemical engineering from The University of Alabama, and he earned an MBA in marketing from the University of Houston-Clear Lake. In 2002, he started the company Virasa Technologies in Houston, and five years later, he and his wife Angela Summers, Ph.D. ’93, established Saffron Fields Vineyards in Oregon. Also in 2007, the couple created the Irvin A. Jefcoat Endowed Scholarship to support UA chemical and biological engineering students.
DR. ODIS P. MCDUFF
Dr. Odis Pelham McDuff died Feb. 7, 2020, in Tuscaloosa. He was 88. Born in Pickens County, he graduated top of his class in 1952 with a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from The University of Alabama. McDuff later graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with a master’s degree in electrical engineering and Stanford University with a doctorate. His research was on lasers. McDuff worked as the department head of UA’s electrical engineering department and received UA’s Outstanding Commitment to Teaching Award twice. He also served as a first lieutenant in the Army Signal Corps Engineering Laboratories at Fort Monmouth, New Jersey.
DR. THOMAS “WAYNE” MERRITT JR.
Dr. Thomas “Wayne” Merritt Jr. died Oct. 5, 2020, in Auburn. He was 77. Born in Columbus, Georgia, he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in biology in 1966 and a master’s degree in zoology in 1968 from Auburn University. After graduating, he joined Officer Candidate School and began pilot training in the U.S. Air Force. Merritt was assigned to the Strategic Air Command flying B-52 Stratofortresses after completing pilot training in 1970 in Valdosta, Georgia. He spent time in California and Michigan and flew combat missions over North Vietnam, Thailand and Guam. Merritt was promoted to captain and later aircraft commander. He was bestowed many awards and medals during his military career. In 1973, Merritt was assigned to the ROTC program at Auburn. He resigned his commission in 1977. Merritt then earned a doctorate in industrial engineering with a focus on ergonomics in 1987. In 1988, he was hired at The University of Alabama as a professor of industrial engineering and statistical methods. While working at UA, Merritt was also an independent consultant. He helped businesses examine workflow and redesign workspaces to diminish injuries from strain and stress. Merritt retired in 2007 and eventually returned to the Auburn area.