Wolf Homburger

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Photo Wolf Homburger The former Assistant Director of ITS Berkeley and the author of a widely used textbook on traffic engineering, died June 9, 2010. He was 83. Homburger joined ITS in 1955 as a junior research engineer. By the time he officially retired in 1990 he was the Institute's assistant director, and his popular classes along with his textbook, Fundamentals of Traffic Engineering, now in its sixteenth printing, had influenced thousands of students and transportation professionals. He combined teaching with a diverse research agenda, lecturing in countries around the world. In 1997, the Institute of Transportation Engineers, a national professional organization, honored him with the Wilbur S. Smith Distinguished Transportation Educator Award. The award recognizes those who have made an outstanding contribution to the transportation profession by relating academic studies to the actual practice of transportation. Homburger was born in Karlsruhe, Germany in 1926. In 1939, at age 12, he was sent to England as part of the last Kindertransport. He spent the war years living with a British family on a farm and attending school at Eastbourne College. He remained in close touch with that family and other school friends and professional colleagues for the rest of his life. As a young man he immigrated to the United States where he was finally reunited with his parents in New York City. He received a Bachelor's degree in Civil Engineering from The Cooper Union in 1950, and a Master's of Science in Civil Engineering from UC Berkeley in 1951. He was naturalized in 1951 and served in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers from 1951 to 1955. Homburger met his late wife, Arlene at a UC Berkeley International House alumni event. They were married in 1958. Both had great affection for I-House and were generous supporters: Homburger's former resident room, 760, was dedicated in his honor in 2006, while its south patio was named in memory of his late wife. The couple were passionate about music, the arts, and committed supporters of Neve Shalom-Wahat al-Salam, a village in Israel where Jewish and Arab families live together in a peace-building effort. Homburger is survived by his son, Paul, and daughter-in-law, Donna, his daughter, Joanna, and son-in-law Britton Snipes, and five grandchildren, Julian, Chris, Heather, Meghan, and Brianna. A memorial will be held Sunday, June 27 at 2 p.m. in the Auditorium at International House.
Published in San Francisco Chronicle on June 24, 2010
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