June 2, 1935 – Jan. 8, 2013
Rowland Richards Jr., Ph.D., a civil engineering professor at the University at Buffalo for 30 years, died last Tuesday at his home in Buffalo after a brief illness.
He was 77.
Born in New York City and raised in Southern California, Dr. Richards graduated from the Thacher School in Ojai, Calif.
He received his bachelor’s degree from Princeton University in 1957, his master’s from California Institute of Technology in 1958 and his doctorate from Princeton in 1964.
Dr. Richards taught at Princeton for several years and at the University of Delaware for 10 before his wife, Martha, persuaded him to take a position as a professor in her hometown of Buffalo in 1980.
At UB, Dr. Richards taught courses ranging from fluid mechanics to structural aesthetics.
He wrote numerous journal articles and book chapters, and conducted research on seismic soil mechanics.
He also wrote “Principles of Solid Mechanics,” which contains elegantly hand-drawn diagrams and plentiful footnotes full of literary and observational asides.
He retired from UB in 2010.
As a young man, Dr. Richards was twice a U.S. national champion archer and won the 1950 World Junior Archery Championship held in Brussels. He spent his summer vacations as a youth working at Trail Lake Ranch in Wyoming. As a college student, he spent summers gold mining in California and the Yukon Territory of Canada.
In 1960, Dr. Richards purchased a patchwork of old farmland in Waitsfield, Vt., where he opened Floodwoods Farm to raise Belted Galloway cattle.
He taught during the school year, but during the summer he worked the farm, which is still operated by the family.
Survivors include his wife of 45 years, the former Martha Marcy; two sons, Rowland III and George; two daughters, Kelvey Wilson and Jean Damon; and two sisters, Catherine Murff and Christine Rousselot.