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Earnest Frederick Gloyna

Obituary for Earnest Frederick Gloyna

June 30, 1921 - January 9, 2019
Austin, Texas | Age 97


Earnest Frederick Gloyna passed away at age 97, on January 09, 2019. His life was filled with love of family, country, academic and professional accomplishments and true friends. He shared the adoration of Agnes Mary (Lehman) Gloyna, his wife of 66 years.

He was born in Wilbarger County, Texas on June 30, 1921. He was the first child born to Herman and Johanna Gloyna. Earnest had three brothers: Herman, Robert, and Emmett. Being the oldest child, life was a myriad of chores around the farm. When he wasn't helping his Father, Earnest could be found helping his Mother, which had its rewards as she was an excellent cook. There wasn't anything she couldn't bake in their wood fired stove. Earnest thought there was nothing better than fresh baked bread, warm from the oven with home churned butter and fresh preserves. Earnest and his brothers were close friends with their seven double cousins who lived nearby. The three girls: Clara, Elsie and Agnes were more like sisters than cousins.

He was homeschooled for a short period before attending public school and graduating from Five-in-One High School. He studied at home most of this time by the light of a coal oil lamp. A couple of local Vernon boys talked Earnest into entering Texas Tech University and studying engineering with them. He was not prepared for a science and engineering program. Entering Texas Tech, he was not even sure what field of engineering he should study. Ultimately, he chose Civil Engineering and he received an excellent education in that field. At Tech, Earnest joined the ROTC program. During his senior year Pearl Harbor was attacked and the US entered WW II. June 01, 1942, Earnest was commissioned a second lieutenant in the army of the United States. Earnest was assigned to the 820th Engineering Aviation Battalion in England and was soon building bomber bases for the army air force. Captain Gloyna was part of the D-Day invasion and entered Europe via Omaha Beach. Moving inland the 820th built three airfields for fighter planes in the Omaha Beach enclave. The 820th was an integral part of five major combat campaigns: Rhineland, Ardennes, Normandy, Central Europe and Northern France. The 820th always operated in the forward area, much of the time in direct support of General Paton's Third Army. It was said that these men exerted super human effort and professional expertise to build airfields on time and under extreme conditions of mobile warfare.

Upon returning from the war Major Earnest Gloyna proposed to Agnes Mary Lehman. They were married February 17, 1946 at the Lehman family home in Wilbarger County. The happy couple moved to Lubbock so Earnest could complete the last requirements for a civil engineering degree. Upon completion Earnest saw a posting that Magnolia Petroleum Company was hiring civil engineers. He interviewed, and the couple relocated to Dallas to start Earnest's professional career. Desiring an advanced degree in engineering, Earnest left Magnolia and enrolled in the Master of Engineering program at the University of Texas in Austin. This was the beginning of a long and distinguished association with the University of Texas at Austin. While completing his graduate degree he experienced research and teaching. With a Master of Engineering degree completed, Earnest had a decision to make. Stay in academia or go into industry. When faced with a problem to solve or situation to resolve, he and Agnes "worked the problem". Earnest took a summer appointment at Oak Ridge, Tennessee with the Atomic Energy Commission. Earnest could not ignore his desire to continue to study the complex and challenging new areas of engineering. He wanted a PhD. He applied to Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore Maryland and was accepted to the new program in Environmental Engineering.

After completing his doctorate degree at Johns Hopkins University, Earnest and family returned to his beloved state of Texas. He accepted a faculty position at the University of Texas at Austin. His work in sanitary engineering and public health created a new research area in civil engineering that became known as Environmental Health Engineering. His research activities made the program one of the highest rated in the country.

After many years of research, teaching and service, Earnest was appointed Dean of Engineering in 1970. A position he was to hold for the next seventeen years. During his time as Dean he was responsible for growing the college of engineering into a top ten national program. One of his goals was to attract blue ribbon faculty and high-quality students from all segments of society. He began developing first-class facilities with high visibility in national review boards and technical societies. He developed programs to produce the funding necessary to support his vision.

Earnest excelled in academia, but was also a successful consulting engineer, working closely with both the private and public sectors. Earnest was involved in projects all over the world with the World Health Organization. His work with waste stabilization ponds underscores his primary interest in engineering as a mechanism to provide low cost answers to health problems in developing countries. He maintained that development should provide an environment that promotes, not impairs, the health and well being of mankind and other living things. His expertise was highly sought after. When China and the World Bank needed environmental oversight on a large Yangtze River project, the famous Three Gorge Dam project, Earnest was one of two foreign consultants invited.

Dean Gloyna stepped down as Dean in 1987. He continued to teach classes, consult and support graduate students. He and Agnes enjoyed the years after the deanship spending time at the "Little G Ranch" outside Burnet, Texas. At the "Little G Ranch" Earnest and Agnes entertained friends and associates. The star attraction at the "Little G Ranch" was Earnest's favorite Longhorn, Bubba.

Earnest was a member of many engineering societies, including the Texas Society of Professional Engineers, Water Environment Federation, American Association of Civil Engineers and TAMEST, the Academy of Medicine, Engineering and Science of Texas.

Earnest earned many honors and awards over his long and illustrious career. Earnest was exceptionally proud of being selected as a Distinguished Alumnus from all three universities he attended: Texas Tech University, the University of Texas at Austin and Johns Hopkins University. He was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 1970. Earnest was awarded the President's Citation from the University of Texas at Austin in 2007.

One of his former students, Dr. Davis Ford described, "Earnest Gloyna as a warm, affectionate and loyal man. He was a man of principle and integrity, a man who believes in the work ethic."

Earnest was preceded in death by his wife, Agnes Gloyna, his brother, Herman Gloyna, and his grandson Steve Grosskopf. He is survived by his son Dr. David Gloyna and his wife Sue, daughter Lisa Gloyna, grandsons Scott Gloyna and wife Blair, Keith Grosskopf and wife Molly, granddaughter Tara Pritchard and husband Andrew, and great grandson John Grosskopf.

Visitation with the family will be from 5:00 – 7:00 PM on Monday, January 14, 2019 at Weed Corley-Fish, 3125 North Lamar Boulevard, Austin, Texas 78705. Funeral service will be held at 10:00 AM Tuesday, January 15, 2019 at Redeemer Lutheran Church, 1500 West Anderson Lane, Austin, Texas 78757.

In lieu of flowers donations can be made to Friends of Alec in the Cockrell School of Engineering at UT Austin, Redeemer Lutheran Church, Austin Texas, or the charity of your choice.

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Suggested Memorial Donations

  • In lieu of flowers donations can be made to Friends of Alec in the Cockrell School of Engineering at UT Austin, Redeemer Lutheran Church, Austin Texas, or the charity of your choice.

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Weed-Corley-Fish Funeral Home North

3125 N Lamar Blvd.
Austin, TX 78705
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