The physical oceanography community lost one of its greatest teacher, graduate student advisor, and pioneer modeler on January 23, 2009. Bob Reid came to Texas A&M University, College Station, TX, in 1948 as an assistant professor at the newly formed department of Oceanography and Meteorology. He was elected to the National Academy of Enginnering in 1985 for his pioneering contributions to hydrodynamical theory/applications, wave force analysis, storm tide prediction, tsunami flooding estimation, and for superlative teaching. Upon his retirement in 1987, he was named Distinguished Professor Emeritus in Oceanography and a Symposium was held to celebrate his illustrious career. He was the founding editor of the Journal of Physical Oceanography. He wrote a very insightful editorial commentary for the Journal's twenty-fifth anniversary.
I meet Bob Reid when I started my graduate school at Texas A&M in 1984. He was a co-advisor for my Master's and advisor during my Ph.D studies. He was a very kind and gentle person. I learned a lot of numerical modeling from him. His biggest contribution to oceanography is undoubtedly his teaching and the numerous graduate students that he advised in both Oceanography and Enginnering for almost six decades. One of my vivid memories about him is he working on his old desktop computer after being damaged by a storm lightning. The electric discharge damaged the math processor of his beloved computer. There were several attempts to replace his computer but he refused. He adapted and modified his programming skills in basic accordingly to overcome the damaged computer. I tested several of his programs in other computers using Fortran. He certainly will be missed...
This is his obituary from The Eagle news paper, Bryan-College Station, Texas:
Reid, Robert Osborne
August 24, 1921 - January 23, 2009
Distinguished Professor Emeritus Robert Osborne Reid, 87, passed away Friday at College Station Medical Center. Funeral services are set for 1 p.m., Tuesday, January 27, at St. Thomas Episcopal Church in College Station with the Rev. Lisa Hines assisted by the Rev. Benjamin Aurand. Interment will follow at College Station Cemetery. Visitation will be from 6 to 8 p.m., Monday, January 26, at Memorial Funeral Chapel in College Station.
Robert Osborne Reid, born August 24, 1921, in Milford, Connecticut passed away January 23, 2009, in College Station, Texas surrounded by family. He was the youngest child and only son of John F. Reid and Frances Osborne Reid. In 1935, the Reid Family moved from Connecticut to Los Angeles, California where he attended Fairfax High School and went on to study at UCLA and later at USC to study engineering. On the outbreak of World War Two, he made the decision to participate in special Army training in meteorology at UCLA. Upon completion of these courses in 1943, he was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the Army Air Corps as a weather officer. He was sent to England and was eventually assigned to Project Overlord, where he was a member of a team that predicted weather and tides for the Allied Invasion of France on D-Day.
It was in these wartime experiences that he found his interest in oceanography and developed some lifetime bonds with fellow scientists that became lifelong colleagues. At the end of the War he completed his education at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla, California. It was here that he met his future bride, Marjorie Ada Ferry. Bob and Marjorie were married February 1, 1947, at Saint James-by-the-Sea Episcopal Church in La Jolla.
Upon completion of his studies at Scripps, Bob was recruited by Dale Leipper to join in the founding of the Department of Oceanography and Meteorology at Texas A & M College. Bob and Marjorie and their first two children moved to College Station, Texas in 1951. Professor Reid had a long and distinguished career at Texas A & M University. He is a Distinguished Professor Emeritus of the Department of Oceanography, a member of the National Academy of Engineering and National Academy of Sciences, a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union and the American Meteorological Society and has an Honorary Doctor of Science degree from Old Dominion University. Professor Reid was founding editor of the Journal of Physical Oceanography. He served as Head of the Department of Oceanography at Texas A & M University from 1981 to 1987; as a Trustee of the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research; as a civilian member of the U. S. Army Engineering Research Board and on numerous panels of the National Research Council. During his tenure, he chaired or co-chaired over 70 PHD and MS students. Professor Reid received four Distinguished Teaching Awards and a Distinguished Research Award. In 1983, a Symposium on the Practice of Physical Oceanography was convened in his honor by his former students from across the globe.
Robert was preceded in death by his daughter, Mary Ellen Anderson, four sisters; Eleanor Crowfoot, Jean Laurs, Mary Reid and Sally Simonian.
Survivors include his wife of 62 years, Marjorie Ferry Reid of College Station, sons and daughter-in-law, Robert and Tina Reid of Sugar Land, Thomas Reid of Great Falls, VA, Russell Reid of Bryan; daughters, Nancy Reid of Reston, VA, and Carol McCormick of College Station; son-in-law, William V. Anderson; grandchildren, Kimberlee Spurlin, Wesley Reid, Katherine Reid, Sarah Naomi McCormick, Nicholas Paul Reid, Brandon Anderson, Nolan Daniel Anderson and Ellie Lynn Anderson; great-grandchildren, Garrett Heitman, Aaden and Kason Anderson and Kaely Brown.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorial donations in his honor be made to the American Cancer Society or Saint Thomas Episcopal Church Building Fund.