Ernest Worthington Blee (B.S.’51 CE) died on January 3. Blee left high school early to join the U.S. Coast Guard during World War II, where he served as a radio operator. After Berkeley, he began a long career with Caltrans, where he was senior resident engineer for the Antioch Bridge. He later worked
with Sverdrup Corp. and Jacobs.

Gaetano Borriello

Borriello spoke on “Personalizing Public Health” at TEDx Seattle in 2010. (Photo by Stephen Brashear)

Gaetano Borriello (Ph.D.’88 CS) died in February. After graduating from Berkeley, he joined the faculty of the University of Washington, where he was the Jerre D. Noe Chair of Computer Science and Engineering. His career spanned the areas of integrated circuits for networking, automatic synthesis of digital circuits, reconfigurable hardware and embedded systems development tools. In 2001, he founded the Intel Research Laboratory in Seattle, where he launched projects in elder care and in location-aware computing now used by Apple, Google and Microsoft. More recently, he was working on the application of mobile technologies to the challenges in public health and development in low-resource settings. His group’s Open Data Kit — open resource mobile data collection tools — is in use worldwide.

Robert Anthony Dal Porto (B.S.’49 IEOR) died in January at the age of 89. He took time off during college to volunteer for the Navy Air Corps, serving as a Marine pilot in World War II. In 1946, he returned to school, where he lettered in track and football. He was a member of the Rose Bowl team under coach Pappy Waldorf and graduated at the top of his class. Until 1980, he was a rancher in Oakley, California; he then worked as an engineer for Chevron in
Colorado. He remained a loyal Cal Bears fan throughout his life, a season ticket holder for many years and an active member of “Pappy’s Boys.”

Robert G. Dean (B.S.’54 CE) died in February at the age of 84. He earned a master’s degree from Texas A&M in oceanography in 1956 and a Ph.D. from MIT in 1959, and was widely recognized for his expertise in coastal engineering. He directed Florida’s Division of Beaches and Shores and was also a prolific teacher, holding faculty positions at several universities on the east and west coasts. He co-authored three technical books and hundreds of technical articles, and was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 1980. Dean retired from the University of Florida in 2003. 

William Louis Garrison, civil and environmental engineering professor emeritus and former director of Berkeley’s Institute of Transportation Studies, died in February at age 90. Garrison served in the U.S. Army’s meteorology branch during World War II, and later earned a Ph.D. in geography from Northwestern University. On the faculty of the University of Washington, he began using computerized statistical techniques such as multivariate analysis for geographic research. Garrison joined the Berkeley faculty in 1973 and retired in 1991. Of his many enduring contributions to the transportation engineering program, Garrison expanded and strengthened the planning and policy elements of the curriculum.

Irvan F. Mendenhall (B.S.’41 CE) died in July 2014 at age 96. He graduated just before the U.S. entered World War II, and he was commissioned by the U.S. Navy’s Civil Engineering Corps in 1942. After the war, he returned to his hometown of Santa Maria, California, where he started his own engineering firm, Daniel, Mann, Johnson and Mendenhall, which eventually became one of the largest engineering firms in the country. He became president of the American Society of Civil Engineers in 1981 and was honored as Engineer of the Year by the Consulting Engineers Association of California and the Los Angeles Council of Engineering Societies.

James McCraney (B.S.’47 EECS) died on January 19. In 1941, McCraney began studying mechanical engineering and played clarinet in the Cal Band. He left school in 1943 to join the Army, seeing duty in India, Burma and the Philippines; when he returned to campus he switched over to study EECS. He worked for the California Public Utilities Commission for three years, until he was drafted during the Korean War. He spent his tour of duty in Spokane, Washington, where he met his wife, Janice. McCraney eventually returned to work for the utilities commission, where he worked for 40 years until his retirement in 1987.

Thorndike Saville (M.S.’49 CE) died in November at the age of 89. Saville attended Harvard for a year before joining the U.S. Army in 1943. During World War II, he served as a weather observer. After the war, he returned to Harvard to complete his degree. He then worked for the War Department, where he conducted studies of sediment and water movement in California. In 1971, he was named technical director of the Coastal Engineering Research Center, a position he held until his retirement in 1981. He was considered to be one of the foremost experts in coastal engineering.

Cravens (Chris) Wanlass (B.S.’50, M.S.’52 EECS) died in January at age 89. At age 17, he joined the U.S. Navy as an electronics technician. He fought in the Battle of Okinawa and was aboard the first ship into Japan after the signing of the armistice. He received many commendations for his service, including the World War II Victory and Asiatic Pacific Campaign medals, with two bronze stars. As a member of the UCLA engineering faculty, he designed the world’s first airborne digital and transistorized computer and invented a high-efficiency electric motor. He was awarded 38 UC patents. He also held many important positions in industry, such as vice president and director of engineering and R&D for Packard Bell and director of electronics research for Ford Motor Aerospace division. He was awarded the Robinsons’ Design Award for the Wanlass motor in 1977 and received special commendations from both the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives for his energy-saving work.

Topics: Alumni

Reach the editors at berkeleyengineer@berkeley.edu