25 June 2010

My Grandpa

My Grandpa passed away a year ago today. He was a really cool dude and I miss him a lot. My aunt recently found this post written about him in February. It appeared in the proceedings of The Board of Trustees at Ohio State. He rode his horse 200 miles to go to college!





Columbus, Ohio, February 4 and 5, 2010

Fairfax E. Watkins

The Board of Trustees of The Ohio State University expresses its sorrow upon the death on June 25, 2009, of Fairfax E. Watkins, Professor Emeritus in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Geodetic Science.

In 1930 Fairfax Watkins rode his horse some 200 miles westward to the mountain town of Blacksburg, Virginia, where he began his studies of mechanical engineering at Virginia Polytechnic Institute. After graduating with a M.S. degree in mechanical engineering in 1937, he received an offer from Professor Thomas French for a faculty position at The Ohio State University. Professor Watkins taught at Ohio State from 1937-42.

In 1942 Professor Watkins took leave from OSU to serve in the United States Army during World War II. While serving in the military, he managed engineering operations of the barrage balloon protection of the Panama Canal, for which he was decorated with the Legion of Merit Medal of Honor.

Professor Watkins was transferred to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1943, where he served as a professor of military science. A year later, while still in the U.S. Army, he served his country by investigating the background of scientists working on the Manhattan Project.

When WW II ended, Professor Watkins took a civilian job with the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation where he designed traffic interchanges for the Pennsylvania Turnpike. These interchanges, then called clover leafs, were among the first to be built in the world.

Professor Watkins returned to Ohio State in 1946, joining the former Department of Engineering Graphics where he taught courses in engineering graphics and engineering mechanics. He retired from OSU in 1974.

On behalf of the University community, the Board of Trustees expresses to the family of Professor Emeritus Fairfax E. Watkins its deepest sympathy and sense of understanding of their loss. It is directed that this resolution be inscribed upon the minutes of the Board of Trustees and that a copy be tendered to his family as an expression of the Board’s heartfelt sympathy.

My maternal grandparents, Fairfax and Olga.

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