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HOWARD JONAH PINCUS(1922-2012)

PINCUS, HOWARD JONAH June 24, 1922 October 17, 2012 Howard Jonah Pincus, age 90, passed peacefully Wednesday October 17, 2012, with his family at his side. He was preceded in death by his mother Gertrude (1943), father Max (1982), and sister Edith (2010). A child of the Great Depression and veteran of World War II, Howard was a sterling example of The Greatest Generation. He will always be remembered for his unwavering commitments to his family, integrity, and to personal and professional excellence. Howard was a first-generation American born at his aunt Dinah's home in Brooklyn, New York on June 24, 1922. His father Otto Max Pincus (originally Pincu), who had emigrated from Rumania in 1901, was a cloth cutter in New York`s garment district, and his mother Gertrude (nee Jankowsky) who had emigrated from Poland in 1897, was a homemaker. Howard spoke often of his father's stoic efforts to support his family throughout the Depression and of his mother's kindness and love of reciting poetry. As a child Howard and his family moved to the Bronx, where he attended Public School 28. He was later graduated from DeWitt Clinton High School in the Bronx in 1938 at age 15. It was at DeWitt Clinton that Howard discovered the New York Times and set as a goal obtaining whatever education would be necessary to understand every article published in the paper. Howard earned a B.S. in Mathematics at the City College of New York, graduating as a Phi Beta Kappa in June 1942. Howard then enlisted in the U.S. Army, completing his basic training at Camp Evans, New Jersey and Officers Candidate School in the Army Corps of Engineers at Camp Fort Belvoir, Virginia. He earned the rank of First Lieutenant and commanded a combat engineering group in Batangas, The Philippines. Returning to New York City after the war, Howard lived with his father in Greenwich Village (around the corner from his Aunt Yetta's candy and sundries store) while completing masters and doctoral degrees in Geology at Columbia University, where he also was elected to the Sigma Xi scientific research society. After Columbia, Howard's professional career included positions rising from instructor to full professor and chairman of the Department of Geology at Ohio State University (1949-1967); geology research supervisor at the U.S. Bureau of Mines in Minneapolis, MN (1967-1968); full professor of geology and civil engineering and dean of the College of Letters and Sciences at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (1968-1987) where he also received the university's first Alumni Award for Teaching Excellence; and consultant in geology, rock mechanics, tunneling, and energy storage in rocks in San Diego, California (1987-2009). During his professional career Howard published well more than 100 articles, papers in technical journals, and chapters in scientific and educational books, as well as serving as senior postdoctoral fellow of the National Science Foundation; member of the U.S. National Committee on Tunneling Technology for the National Academy of Engineering; member of the U.S. National Committee on Rock Mechanics for the National Academy of Sciences; member of the U.S. Committee of the International Association of Engineering Geology; and member of the American Society for Testing and Materials, which awarded him both Merit and Frank W. Reinhart awards. Howard married Maud Roback on September 6, 1953 at the Alcazar Hotel in Cleveland, Ohio. As noted his career took him from Columbus, OH, where his sons Glenn and Philip were born, to Minneapolis, MN, Milwaukee, WI, and ultimately to semi-retirement in San Diego, CA. Recognizing in 2009 that his health was declining, Howard encouraged a move from his and Maud's San Diego home of more than 20 years to a retirement community in Thousand Oaks, California so that Maud would be, upon his passing, in a safe and supportive environment near her children. As was so often the case, his thinking was exactly right. Howard is survived by his loving wife of 59 years Maud, children Glenn and Philip, daughters in law Jill and Kathleen, and grandchildren Katherine, Lindsay, Thomas, and Alexandra.


Published in U-T San Diego on Nov. 2, 2012
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