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Robert Lewis White


1924 - 2016 Obituary Condolences Gallery
Robert Lewis White Obituary
August 6, 1924 - October 24, 2016 Distinguished engineer, WWII veteran, and beloved husband, father, grandfather, and great grandfather Robert "Bob" White, 92, passed away on October 24th surrounded by his family. Robert was born to Benjamin Horton White and Dorothea D. (née Wenrich) White in Los Angeles in 1924. In 1943, after enrolling at UCLA, he joined the U.S. Navy, in which he served as an Aviation Machinist Mate 3rd Class and later an Ensign aboard the USS Presidio in the Pacific. After three years and four months on active duty he was released to inactive duty in the USNR, which later promoted him to Lt. (jg). He went on to earn his BS in Civil Engineering from UC Berkeley in 1948, the year in which he married Lois Adele Sharp. Robert then worked for several public engineering organizations, including the East Bay Municipal Utility District, the California State Division of Highways, the City of Los Angeles and the City of Burbank. In 1958 he received his MS in Civil Engineering from USC, where he was a Senior Lecturer from that year until 1966. From 1962 to 1966 he was the City Engineer of the City of Burbank. In 1966 he joined Engineering-Science, Inc. (ES), ranked among the top 50 engineering companies in the US, where he held positions including Executive VP, Chairman of the Board, President, and CEO. After the sale of ES to the Parsons Corporation, one of the world's largest engineering construction firms, Robert was appointed Senior Vice President and General Manager of the Systems Division, as well as to the Board of Directors of the Ralph M. Parsons Company. Robert went to found, co-found and lead R.L. White & Associates, Inc.; US-top-100-ranked Planet Pacific, Inc.; and Conservtech Holdings, Inc. As well as being licensed to practice engineering in 39 states and D.C., Robert was a member of the American Academy of Environmental Engineering, the American Society of Civil Engineers, the Water Environment Federation and the American Water Works Association. He was the recipient of the Water Pollution Control Association's Arthur Sidney Bedell Award and USC's Distinguished Civil Engineering Alumnus Award, as well as the author of numerous publications and technical papers. During his 51 years of professional engineering practice he traveled extensively, leading projects in many Asian, Middle Eastern, and Latin American countries. After retirement he managed the family agricultural business, wrote his memoirs, traveled with Lois, and spent countless hours corresponding with, mentoring, and accompanying friends and family. Robert is survived by his wife, Lois Adele; children Benton, Craig, Douglas, Valerie, Janine and Susan; 12 grandchildren, and one great granddaughter. A memorial service will be held on February 19, 2017 at 2:00 p.m. at the Dana Point Yacht Club. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Robert L. White undergraduate scholarship for civil engineering at UC Berkeley.
Published in the Los Angeles Times on Nov. 23, 2016
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