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ABE Sympathy

Samuel D. Parsons - 69, of West Lafayette, died Tuesday, March 24, 2009, at Rosewalk Village, Lafayette, after battling brain cancer for more than a year. He was born on Sept. 4, 1939, in Brazil, Ind., and was the son of the late Ray E. and V. Pauline Ames Parsons. He graduated in 1957 from Van Buren High School.

Redbud tree at ABE buildingSam received a bachelor's degree in agricultural engineering from Purdue University in 1961, a master's from Cornell University in 1964 and a Ph.D. from Michigan State University in 1975. From 1961 to 1963 he was a design engineer at Cummins Engine Co. in Columbus, Ind., and was a graduate research assistant at Cornell in 1963-1964. His career in the agricultural engineering department at Purdue University started in 1964, when he became an assistant professor. He was a graduate research assistant in 1969, an assistant professor in 1972, an associate professor in 1975, a professor in 1984 and was professor emeritus in 2001, when he retired.   Sam's major emphasis was in the area of farm machinery management. His research in later years focused on farm computer utilization.

He was author of or contributor to more than 167 magazine articles, 67 Extension publications, 18 refereed journal articles and some 50 technical papers. Among his honors: in 1986, the Eric G. Sharvelle Award as the Distinguished Purdue University Extension Specialist, and in 2001, the PUCESA Career Award for Purdue University Peer Recognition. He held U.S. Patent 4,228,637, a hay treatment device, as co-inventor in 1980.

He enjoyed museums, fishing and watching sports, especially women's basketball. He was a board member and newsletter editor of the BOILERmaker NETwork.

Sam was preceded in death by his wife, Nancy Steinhauer Parsons, in 2003. Nancy worked in ABE for a number of years in the 1980s in an administrative/clerical role. Surviving are two sons, Samuel D. Parsons Jr. of Seymour and William E. Parsons (wife: Audrey) of Scottsdale, Ariz., two sisters, Phyllis Fipps of Orange, Calif., and Nelda Rohrbach (husband: Lloyd) of Zionsville; two stepdaughters, Susan White (husband: Brian) of Athens, Ga., and Elizabeth "Betsy" Davis (husband: Steve) of Toledo, Ohio; and a stepson John "Chris" Steinhauer (wife: Debra) of Lafayette.  Also surviving are a grandson, Pvt. Jordan Adams, who is serving in the Army, two stepgrandchildren, Wendy and Austin White, and companion and special friend, Peg Michael.

William Henry Friday III - an ABE faculty member who retired in 1991, died Aug. 12, 2008.  Bill received an Associate degree in Agriculture (1948) from the State University of New York (at Cobleskill), and a BS (1953) and MS (1959) in Agricultural Engineering from Michigan State University before joining Purdue in 1955.  

Bill Friday's major program emphasis at Purdue was in the areas of a) structural design of farm buildings, b) livestock housing, environment and production systems, and c) domestic housing. In addition to conducting a teaching and research program, his primary extension responsibility has involved a large number of farm visits, the development of extension publications and other educational aids, and their delivery to extension clientele through the mass media, group meetings, tours, field days, shows, and a large number of individual office and phone consultations as well as responsibility for extension agent training in areas of expertise.

Throughout his career, Bill applied his structural engineering skills to solve rural building problems. His structural research in wood building design spanned the modern era of farm structures. With Purdue Professor Alvin Dale (deceased) he helped to pioneer the development of clear span structures and laminated post construction which led to modern post-framed farm shop and machine storage design. He worked to make engineering information available to Indiana residents by developing or co-developing a total of 79 plans, six handbooks and 17 numbered extension publications as well as a number of ASABE technical papers, exhibits, and numerous technical design tables for agricultural construction. Bill was chairman and coordinator of the annual Purdue Farm Builders conference from 1970 through 1987, bringing the latest in design of wood and metal buildings and residential housing system, environmental control, and business management to Indiana’s rural builders.

Professor Friday was honored many times for his professional accomplishments. Most notable was a 1985 Farm Builder Hall of Fame award presented by the Farm Building News and a 1989 USDA Superior Service Award for his work with the Purdue Drought-Response Team and a 19 ASABE Blue Ribbon Awards awarded in the annual National Educational Aids Competition. In 1991, he was awarded the prestigious Giese Structures and Environment Award. This award is presented annually by ASABE to honor an individual who has demonstrated outstanding and meritorious achievement in agricultural structures and environment. 

Bill was very active in the local community. He was an avid sportsman who enjoyed playing and watching baseball. He served for many years as engineering advisor to the local Little League and Babe Ruth Baseball and helped to build local baseball fields. He was also a Scout Master for Boy Scouts of America, enjoyed bowling with the Purdue Staff League and served as Director for the Purdue University Squash organization.  Bill Friday is survived by his wife, Fredrica, and three children: Lee in Minnesota, Joe in S. Carolina and Dan in Indiana. He was preceded in death by his oldest son, William IV. 

Alvin Cecil Dale, Ph.D. - Dr. Dale joined the Purdue Department Flowerof Agricultural Engineering (currently the Dept. of Agricultural and Biological engineering) in the fall of 1949 to teach courses in farm structures design. In 1952, with Al serving as Chair of the Agricultural Engineering graduate Committee, the Department applied for and was granted approval by the Graduate School to offer the Master of Science in Agricultural Engineering. This was followed by approval to offer the Ph.D., and in 1965, 33 students were enrolled in graduate studies in the Department.

Professor Dale’s early research evaluated low-cost insulation options to improve conditions in rural Indiana. He continued his energy research in the mid 70s during studied both static and dynamic methods of collecting solar energy. He was among the first in the US to recognize that environmental issues could limit commercial animal production and initiated Purdue’s program in research, teaching and extension for managing and treating wastes from animal production in the mid 1960s. He was recognized by the Indiana Farm Bureau for his innovative developments in farm building design. His work, along with that of Professor W. H. Friday at Purdue was instrumental in the creation of post wood frame construction which led to the large, low-cost machinery storage buildings seen across the rural Midwestern landscape today. He retired in 1989.

On Sept. 6, 1947, in Nashville, Tenn., Alvin married Anna E. Chappell and she survives. Surviving with his wife are their children: Ava D. Berkheiser (husband: Vaughn) of Thomaston, Georgia, Alan C. Dale (wife: Joyce) of New Braunfels, Texas, and Alice Dale-Thomason (husband: Michael) of Boulder, Colorado and five grandchildren. One daughter, Anita C. Dale, preceded him in death in November 1993.

Edwin J. Monke, Ph.D. - Professor Emeritus of Agricultural and Biological Engineering having served Purdue University for 34 years before retiring in 1992, died on November 17, 2007 at the age of 82. Born June 7, 1925 in Harvel, IL, he was the son of the late Edwin H. and Lillian Prange Monke. He graduated from Harvel High School before serving in the Army from 1944-46. He then enrolled at the University of Illinois where he received BS and MS degrees in Agricultural Engineering and a PhD in Civil Engineering. Ed married Marian M. Hubb in 1963 in California and she survives as do their three daughters: Karen South, Sarah Badger and Dianne Bosnich. All three daughters received engineering degrees from Purdue University.

Monke began an outstanding academic career in 1951 as a full-time instructor in Agricultural Engineering at the University of Illinois. He joined the Purdue Agricultural Engineering faculty in 1958 and attained the rank of professor in 1967. A registered professional engineer and prolific writer, he contributed award winning refereed publications to his profession and authored pedagogically effective teaching materials throughout his career.

Dr. Monke’s teaching and research were in the field of soil and water resources, with particular emphasis on drainage and non-point source pollution control. In the 1980’s he was Principal Investigator or Project Director on a series of multi-million dollar EPA-funded research projects in Allen County. The goal of those projects was to discover field practices that would reduce erosion and non-point chemical pollution from agricultural lands. Outcomes included new watershed modeling tools and computer subsurface drainage simulators such as ANSWERS and DRAINMOD. These models enabled one to quantify the environmental quality benefits of minimum tillage practices and accelerated their widespread adoption. 


Ed considered his research success to be, in large measure, an extension of his teaching. He was honored six times as the department’s Outstanding Engineering Teacher during the decade of the 80’s and, in 1990, received the A.A. Potter Outstanding Teacher award from the College of Engineering. In 1990 he also received the national Massey-Ferguson Medalist Award from the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE), its highest educator award. He is included in the first edition of Purdue’s Book of Great Teachers. An uncommon philosophy Ed brought to his classroom was to develop the leadership potential in his students. Undoubtedly, this philosophy contributed to five of his 31 graduate students becoming heads of Agricultural Engineering departments and to several then attaining higher academic leadership positions.