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Dr. Robert James Parden


1922 - 2014 | Obituary Condolences
Dr.  Robert James Parden Obituary
Dr. Robert James Parden
April 17, 1922 ~ July 20, 2014
Resident of Saratoga
Dr. Robert Parden, 92, former Dean of Engineering at Santa Clara University, passed away on July 20, 2014 surrounded by his family.
Robert James Parden was born in Mason City, Iowa on April 17, 1922, the son of James Ambrose Parden and Mary Fahey Parden. He was raised in Iowa City, Iowa. He served as Lieutenant in the US Army Quartermaster Corp before earning his BS and MS degrees in Engineering from the University of Iowa. In 1953, he became one of the first PhD graduates of the University of Iowa's Department of Industrial Engineering. He then embarked on a 50 year career marked by distinguished contributions in industry practice, engineering education and university administration.
Dr. Parden began his career as professor at the Illinois Institute of Technology. In 1955 he was appointed Dean of the Engineering College at Santa Clara University. There he expanded and updated the engineering curriculum and led efforts that brought the Sullivan Engineering Center and laboratories to the University. Dean Parden created the nation's first successful continuing education program for graduate engineering, established graduate programs that ushered Silicon Valley Companies to the forefront of engineering management, and expanded the imprint of Santa Clara University throughout the high technology industry. Dr. Parden published seminal research in the field of engineering management and was a popular conference speaker and active leader of the American Society for Engineering Education, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and American Institute of Industrial Engineers. He was elected to Tau Beta Pi and Sigma Xi honorary societies. In 1993 Dr. Parden was inducted into the Silicon Valley Hall of Fame.
Bob matched his passion for engineering excellence with lifelong dedication to his community and his large and active family. He set out to live the American Dream and he accomplished it. Bob was a long time resident of Saratoga, residing in the home he designed and built in 1959 until his passing. Bob was a licensed professional engineer and general building contractor. He founded Parden Construction with his son Jim and proudly served on the Saratoga Planning Commission. Bob was able to see Saratoga grow as the Silicon Valley was transforming from the Valley of Heart's Delight, where orchards of fruit trees blossomed each spring. Bob deeply enjoyed the arts, tinkering around his home and world travel. He shared his last cruise to Alaska with three generations of his family in 2013 and a final vacation to his treasured Aptos in June 2014.
Bob is survived by Elizabeth Taylor Parden, his devoted and loving wife of 59 years; four children: Pattie Bradley of San Jose, Jim (Lisa) Parden of Saratoga, Jack, (Mary) Parden of Redwood Shores and Nancy (Mel) Badgett of Saratoga. He also leaves nine beloved grandchildren, who were all wild about their Bop. He is also survived by his sister, Dorothy Smith of Iowa City, brother-in-law Jack Taylor (Wilbi) of Pebble Beach and many loved and accomplished nieces and nephews.
With a keen intellect, charming wit and warm heart, Bob lived life to its fullest and invested in others with uncommon compassion and integrity. He taught many, inspired many more and was admired and loved by all who knew him.
A Catholic Mass of Resurrection will be held at 11am on Monday, July 28 at Sacred Heart Church in Saratoga – where Bob was a founding parishioner. The family asks that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to Santa Clara University, Dean's Engineering Excellence Fund - Dr. Robert J. Parden, 500 El Camino Real, Santa Clara, CA 95053

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Published in San Jose Mercury News/San Mateo County Times on July 25, 2014
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