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Memorial Tributes, Volume 14
1973. In 1999, the Geo-Institute of ASCE established the Ralph B. Peck Lecture and Medal in his honor.
Ralph Peck was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Engineering Degree by Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 1974 and an honorary degree of Doctor of Science by Laval University, Québec, in 1987. He was invited to give the Ninth Rankine Lecture of the British Geotechnical Society in 1969.
Other major honors included the 1944 Norman Medal, 1965 Wellington Prize, and 1969 Karl Terzaghi Award, all from ASCE; the National Society of Professional Engineers Award in 1972; the Outstanding Civilian Service Medal of the U.S. Army in 1973; Washington Award of the Western Society of Engineers in 1976; Rickey Medal from ASCE in 1988; John Fritz Medal from The American Association of Engineering Societies (AAES) in 1988; and ASCE OPAL (Outstanding Projects and Leaders) Award for Outstanding Lifetime Achievement in Education in 2001.
Ralph B. Peck was elected a member of the National Academy of Engineering in 1965. In 1975, President Gerald R. Ford awarded him the National Medal of Science “For his development of the science and art of subsurface engineering, combining the contributions of the sciences of geology and soil mechanics with the practical art of foundation design.”
No doubt Ralph Peck had remarkable technical knowledge and experience. But what distinguished him was his exceptional ability to communicate at every level and in every form and his superb judgment and wisdom. These qualities combined made Ralph Peck a kind, considerate, thoughtful, and humane man. He communicated both eloquently and humbly. In the words of one distinguished engineer, “Ralph Peck was not only a gentleman, but also a gentle man.” This sentiment is shared by all of his colleagues, co-workers, and friends.
Ralph married Marjorie E. Truby on June 14, 1937; she died in 1996. They had been married for fifty-nine years and he had known Marjorie for over seventy years. He is survived by a daughter and son-in-law, Nancy Peck (Allen) Young; and son and daughter-in-law, James (Laurie) Peck; and two grandchildren, Michael Young and Maia Peck.