The campus community mourns the passing of Robert Brungraber GP’05, who died on Monday, June 27, 2022. Bob retired as professor emeritus of civil & environmental engineering in 1992 after 23 years of service to Bucknell.
Bob and his late wife, Ruth Brungraber GP’05, are survived by his son Ben Brungraber P’05 and spouse Joel Feldman P’05, and his grandson Griffin Brungraber ’05 and spouse Caesara (Chezzie) Brungraber ’04.
Bob’s contributions to Bucknell and the civil engineering department were significant. During his career here, Bob served as department chair from 1968-1974 and held a presidential professorship from 1979-1983. He also worked to develop the civil engineering structural test facility from ideation to completion. This facility, now named the Brungraber Structural Laboratory in his honor, symbolizes his ingenuity, perseverance, dedication and skills as engineer and entrepreneur.
Additionally, Bob was a research engineer in the structures division of the National Bureau of Standards and was a member of the board of directors of the National Institute of Building Sciences. He also developed a patented device for measuring the slip resistance of floor and bathtub surfaces, which was adopted by the committee of the American Society for Testing and Materials.
Included below is the complete text of the obituary, as provided by the family.
I encourage you to visit our In Memoriam site to share personal notes of sympathy and remembrance with others.
On behalf of our entire University community, I extend our deepest sympathies to Bob’s family, as well as to all who knew him at Bucknell.
John C. Bravman
Bob was conceived, before The Crash, in the first demonstration of a lifelong association with Good Luck. Had his parents only known; his elder brother Ed and sister, MaryLu, would not have known the joy of having Bob as a kid brother. That luck followed him to the University of Michigan where, one fine Friday afternoon, Bob was manning a registration booth and asking basically every presentable co-ed who trounced down the Bartlett Gym steps to join him at a movie that very night. Ruth “Legs” Rupp said yes – a moment that makes this writer cringe for them both, these many decades later. Their sixty seven year marriage included stays in Casablanca; where their son, Ben, joined the party. Margie climbed aboard the bus two years later, while Bob was garnering an MS at Cornell. A stint as an aluminum engineer was followed by his PhD at Carnegie Tech – writing a dissertation on the flow of foam through tubes – an expertise he was lucky to leave behind.
Bob’s passion for teaching really blossomed during the academic phase of his career. Four years at Princeton were survived, luckily, and led to a two-year hitch at Union College. While there, Bob designed, raised funding, and had built the Stephen Potter Structures Lab – and learned to love snow shoes. He left Union, though, when Bucknell made him an offer he could not refuse. His years there were full; with yet another structures lab designed/funds raised/and built – this one bearing his name. The other significant demonstration of his efforts while at Bucknell is the Hufnagle pedestrian bridge downtown. He served as a faculty advisor on this student project, and thoroughly enjoyed celebrating its 40 th anniversary, with the rest of The Bridge Team, as his Final Toot.
The final phase of his career was as founder and leader of Slip-Test, Inc. He and Ruth ran this specialized consulting, testing, and manufacturing firm well into their eighties – which helped to fund their sweet Jersey Shore lifestyle for more than two decades.
Bob passed, abruptly but peacefully and gracefully, as the last example of his good luck. He was predeceased by his siblings, his wife, and a long line of Very Lucky Hounds. He is survived by his two children, five grandchildren, and seven (to date) great grandchildren.