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LYMON C. REESE

1917–2009

Elected in 1975

“For contributions in geotechnical engineering and education.”

BY JOHN E. BREEN

LYMON C. REESE, Nasser I. Al-Rashid Chair Emeritus in Civil Engineering at the University of Texas at Austin, and one of the nation’s most influential experts on laterally loaded piles and drilled-shaft foundations, died on September 14, 2009, at the age of 92. He was elected a member of the National Academy of Engineering in 1975 for “contributions in geotechnical engineering and education.”

The journalist Tom Brokaw proposed the term “The Greatest Generation” to describe the generation that grew up during the Great Depression, went on to fight in World War II, and came home to rebuild America into a superpower. Lymon Reese was such a person, par excellence.

Lymon was born on April 27, 1917, in Stanley, Pike County, Arkansas. His father was a “log scaler” for a timber company. After primary education in Murfreesboro, Lymon completed high school in Abilene, Texas. While in high school he worked as a caddy at the Abilene Country Club, where he earned money to help his family and entered into a lifelong love with the game of golf.

Lymon entered Abilene Christian College, but with the financial pressures of the Depression, he had to withdraw to go back to work to help support his family. At Abilene High School he had had an opportunity to learn survey calculations. So he joined survey crews along the Rio Grande Valley and



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