Robert Eugene Uhrig, PhD, died June 12, 2013 in Gainesville, Florida at the age of 84. He was born in Raymond, Illinois on August 6, 1928 to John and Anna Uhrig. Survivors include his wife of 58 years, Paula and their seven children, Robert (Susan) of Lake Mary FL, Joseph of Atlanta GA, Mary (Mike) Floyd of Gainesville FL, Charles (Sylvia) of Tampa FL, Jean of Fleming Island FL, Thomas (Sara) of Tequesta FL, Fredrick of Palm Harbor FL, and nine grandchildren, Katherine and Matthew Floyd, Christopher and Stephanie Uhrig, Christina Rieder, Sarah and Rachel Uhrig, Hallie and Jessica Uhrig. He is also survived by two brothers William of Miami Beach, FL and Richard of Divernon IL, and two sisters, Margaret Jordan of Farmersville IL and Marilyn Sales of Raymond IL.
Robert met his wife Paula in Ames, IA where she was a teacher of business subjects at Ames High School, and he was a graduate student at Iowa State University. They were married on November 27, 1954 and moved to Gainesville FL in 1960. Robert and Paula were active members of Holy Faith Catholic Church in Gainesville.
Robert received a B.S. degree (with honors) in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Illinois in 1948, and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Theoretical and Applied Mechanics from Iowa State University in 1950 and 1954 respectively. He is a 1976 graduate of the Advanced Management Program of the Harvard Business School, and was a Registered Professional Engineer in Florida and Iowa. He is the author of over 250 technical and professional publications, more than 100 tutorials and seminars, a book, Random Noise Techniques in Nuclear Reactor Systems (1970, published in Russian 1974), and co-author (with Dr. Lefteri H. Tsoukalas) of a book entitled Fuzzy and Neural Approaches in Engineering (1997).
From 1986 to 2002, Robert held a joint appointment as Distinguished Professor of Engineering in the Nuclear Engineering Department at the University of Tennessee and as Distinguished Scientist in the Advanced Science and Technology Division at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory under the UT/ORNL Science Alliance Program. He was Vice President for Advanced Systems and Technology at Florida Power & Light Company (1974-1986), Dean of the College of Engineering (1968-1973), and Chairman of the Department of Nuclear Engineering Sciences (1960-1968) at the University of Florida. While on leave of absence (1967-68), he was Deputy Assistant Director for Research at the Department of Defense. Earlier, he was Associate Professor of Engineering Mechanics and Nuclear Engineering at Iowa State University (1956-60), and an Academic Instructor in the Department of Mechanics at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point while on active duty with the U.S. Air Force (1954-56).
In 2010, Dr. Uhrig was the first recipient of the Don Miller award from the American Nuclear Society for his advancement in the fields of nuclear instrumentation and control. In 2005, Dr. Uhrig was the recipient of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers’ “ASME Medal,” their highest award “For more than five decades of high achievement and leadership in the power field, resulting in safer and more effective power generation.” Earlier, he received ASME’s 1969 Richards Memorial Award as the outstanding graduate in Mechanical Engineering in the nation within 20 years of graduation. He was elected a Fellow of the American Nuclear Society (1970), the American Association for the Advancement of Science (1980), and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (1980).
Visitation will be held at Forest Meadows Funeral Home, 725 NW 23rd Avenue, Gainesville, FL, Sunday June 16 from 4 to 6 p.m., a Vigil Prayer service will be held at 5:30 P.M. during the visitation. A memorial mass will be held on Monday June 17 at 9:30 a.m. at Holy Faith Catholic Church. In lieu of flowers, the family requests any contributions are made to Haven Hospice or St. Patrick’s School, Gainesville, FL.
To Jean and all your Family,
Jerry and I were so sad to learn that you Father had passed away. Although we did not know him, we knew about him and his amazing, accomplished life from stories you shared with us while in Texas. Please know that we are with you in spirit and prayer during this difficult time.
Love from Margaret and Jerry Hodge
What a full and rewarding life you lived! So glad to have known you at Florida Power and Light.
What have you been up to for the past 25 years?
To Jean and Family,
I’ve known your dad my entire career, as he was one of my first managers at FPL in 1984- Juno Beach. Later, and purely by coincidence we spent time together in the nuclear engineering department at the University of TN (1989-1991). I was saddened yesterday, to learn completely by surprise that your father had passed away. He was always a joy to be with, and learn from. He was a masterful teacher, always helping us along and guiding our work. You and and your family are in my prayers.
Oak Ridge TN
I was privileged to work for Dr Uhrig at the U of F College of Engineering in the late 1960’s. He was a brilliant man and a leader among his peers. My sympathy to all his family.