Frank W. Luerssen
86, of Munster, IN, passed away peacefully on Saturday, August 24, 2013. Beloved husband of Joan Luerssen; loving father of Thomas G. (Norma) Luerssen, Mary Ellen (Steven) Polson, Catherine (William) Howard, Susan (Kevin) Gross and Ann (Daniel) Frey; and cherished grandfather of 17 and great grandfather of 2. He was preceded in death by his parents, George V. Luerssen and Mary Ann Luerssen (nee Swoyer); sister, Jane Gifford and brother, Thomas S. Luerssen.
Frank was born and raised in Reading, Pennsylvania. His father was a noted metallurgist who wrote several textbooks on steel making. A building at the Pennsylvania State University Berks Campus is named for George V. Luerssen. Frank followed his father to Penn State. He and his brother Thomas served in the United States Navy during World War II. Thomas was lost in action. Frank was honorably discharged and returned to college, completing a degree in Physics. It was there that he met his wife of 63 years, Joan. After Penn State, Frank attended Lehigh University completing a Masters of Sciences in Metallurgical Engineering.
Frank began a long career at Inland Steel Industries in 1952, beginning as a metallurgist in Research and Development. Over the course of 40 years at Inland he advanced through the company and was named Chairman and Chief Executive Officer in 1984. Frank retired from Inland in 1992.
During his career and in retirement he served on numerous corporate and educational boards and directed several charitable efforts. He served as Director of the Iron and Steel Institute and received the AISI Gary Medal in 1991. He also served as a member of the Board of Directors of the International Iron and Steel Institute.
He was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 1977 and served on several study panels of the National Research Council. He was named a Distinguished Alumnus of Pennsylvania State University in 1984 and Alumni Fellow in 1989. In 1992 he received the Pennsylvania State University David Ford McFarland Award in metallurgy.
Frank also served as a Trustee of Northwestern University and was a member of the University of Chicago Board of Governors for Argonne National Laboratories. He was a member of the Board of Trustees of Chicago's Museum of Science and Industry.
He was a director and former chairman of the United Way of Chicago and was a member of the Board of Directors of United Way/Crusade of Mercy of Metropolitan Chicago. He also spent time in retirement raising funds for his beloved Penn State.
In 1985, Indiana Governor Robert Orr awarded him the title of Sagamore of the Wabash, the highest award available to citizens of Indiana.
He was active in his local community as well. He was on the School Board and was instrumental in the building of Munster High School. He also worked diligently to raise funds for the building of Munster Community Hospital. He was an active member at Trinity Lutheran Church.
A private graveside service was held at Chapel Lawn Memorial Gardens, Schererville, Indiana on August 28, 2013. The family has requested that in lieu of flowers, memorial contributions be made to the church, synagogue or charitable organization of the donor's choice. http://www.kishfuneralhome.net
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