Leo Roy Beard, a world renowned hydrologic engineer, died in Austin, TX, on March 21, 2009, at the age of 91. Roy Beard had an illustrious career with the US Army Corps of Engineers from 1939 to 1972, retiring as (founding) Director of the Corps' Hydrologic Engineering Center in Davis, CA. Leo Roy was known for his pioneering work on the application of statistics to hydrologic engineering. Following his retirement from the Corps of Engineers, he joined the University of Texas as Professor of Civil Engineering and subsequently the engineering consulting firm of Espey, Huston, and Associates. Professor Beard lectured at universities and other organizations throughout the world. He was a visiting professor at the University of California (Berkeley) and Utah State University and lectured at the University of California (Davis). He was a member of the American Geophysical Union (AGU), the International Association of Hydrologic Sciences, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the International Water Resources Association, a Fellow and Honorary Member of the American Society of Civil Engineering (ASCE), and Honorary Member of the American Waterworks Association. Mr. Beard served as chairman of the ASCE Water Resources Planning & Management Division, President of the AGU Section of Hydrology, Editor-In-Chief of Water International and Managing Editor of the International Journal of Hydrology. In 1975 he was elected to the National Academy of Engineering. In 2001 he received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Society of Civil Engineers for "a life-long and eminent contribution to the environment and water resources engineering disciplines through practice, research and public service." In 2007 he received the Ven Te Chow Award of the American Society of Civil Engineers "for advancing knowledge in hydrologic engineering in systems techniques for reservoir regulation, statistical methods for streamflow frequency analysis, flood hydrograph computation, and the development of computer based methods for hydrologic computations."
Leo Roy Beard was born in West Baden, Indiana, on April 6, 1917. His family moved to San Gabriel, CA, in 1922, where he grew up with five siblings. He attended parochial schools, Alhambra High School, Pasadena Junior College, and California Institute of Technology, from which he graduated with a BS in Civil Engineering in 1939.
Leo Roy married Marian Jeanette Wagar in 1939, with whom he had three children. Marian died in 1973, and in 1974 he married Marjorie Pierce Wood of Austin, Texas.
Leo Roy is survived by his wife, Marjorie; his sister, Margaret (Peggy) Nougier of Laguna Beach, CA; his daughter, Patricia Huntzicker of Portland, OR; his son, Thomas Beard of Reno, NV; and his son, James Beard of Hurricane, UT; also survived by Marjorie's daughters, Patricia Fowler and Ann Bonner of Richland Springs, TX; Kay DeVaux of Hot Springs, AR; and son, Thomas Wood of Austin, TX as well as 22 of his and Marj's grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.
"Don't cry for me. There could hardly be a better life than that which mine has been. Starting with wonderful parents and three older siblings (later two younger siblings), I have been blessed with an abundant and happy life, including two wonderful marriages, three children of my own, four step-children, and so many friends, including professional associates throughout the world. The world has been full of good for me. My cup runneth over a thousand fold!" (Roy Beard)
Services were held Wednesday, March 25, 2009 at 2:00 p.m. at The University United Methodist Church, Austin, Texas. Family requests that memorials be made to the San Saba County EMS.