Ivan M. Viest, PhD
Dr. Ivan M. Viest, 89, of Bethlehem, died Saturday, February 11, 2012 at Kirkland Village, Bethlehem. He was born October 10, 1922 in Bratislavia, Slovakia, the son of Ivan G. Viest and Maria Zacharova. He immigrated to the U.S. in 1946, after completing his civil engineering studies at the Slovak Technical University in Bratislava. He was a Rotary Scholar at the Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta. In June 1948, he joined the faculty at the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana. He completed his PhD degree in October 1951. He met his wife Barbara K. Stevenson in 1952 as she was completing her studies in Chemistry at the University of Illinois. They were married in May 1953. She preceded him in death on January 24, 2012. His older sister, Zora, died in Slovakia in 2002 and he is survived by his younger sister, Tatiana Maria Simkova, several nieces and nephews in Slovakia. Dr. Viest left the University of Illinois in 1957 and accepted the position of Bridge Engineer at the American Association of State Highway Officials (AASHO). He joined Bethlehem Steel as structural engineer in the new Sales Engineering Division in 1961, where he worked for 21 years, attaining the position of assistant manager in 1974 until his retirement in 1983. Ivan was a recognized expert in the area of composite construction which led to the publication of his first book in 1958. Ivan served as Bethlehem Steels representative on the AISI Engineering Subcommittee which initiated significant research in steel structures and particularly for earthquake resistance. Ivan continued with industry-wide research on steel structures and the code work with the AISC specifications where he became a member in 1961 and served in that capacity for 40 years. His achievements resulted in his election to the National Academy of Engineering in 1978 and a Distinguished Member of the American Society of Civil Engineers in 1980 and doctor honoris causa from Technical University of Kosice in 2002 in the Slovak Republic. Upon retirement from Bethlehem Steel, Ivan opened a private consulting career in 1983. He devoted significant time writing histories, such as the 75 years of the Engineering Foundation which he co-authored with historian Lance Metz in 1991. He also provided the overall coordination of the book Composite Construction-Design for Buildings as editor-in-chief, published by McGraw-Hill in cooperation with ASCE in 1997. He wrote his autobiography An Immigrants Story in 2006. He also developed the English translation of his Uncle General Rudolf M. Viests hand-written diaries. General Viest, a member of the Czechoslovakia government in exile in London during WWII, became a commander of the Army in Slovakia in 1944. He was captured by the Germans in 1944 and died in Berlin in 1945. Ivan was an avid sportsman and traveler. Services:
Family and friends are invited to call 10-11 a.m. Thursday at the Heintzelman Funeral Home, Inc. 326 Main Street - Hellertown followed by the service at 11 a.m. Private interment at Union Cemetery of Hellertown. Online expressions of sympathy can be recorded at: www.heintzelmancares.com
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Published by Morning Call on Feb. 14, 2012.