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This is the eighth volume in the series of Memorial Tributes compiled by the National Academy of Engineering as a personal remembrance of the lives and outstanding achievements of its members and international members. These volumes are intended to stand as an enduring record of the many contributions of engineers and engineering to the benefit of humankind. In most cases, the authors of the tributes are contemporaries or colleagues who had personal knowledge of the interests and the engineering accomplishments of the deceased.
WRITTEN BY MANUEL PERALTA
SUBMITTED BY THE NAE HOME SECRETARY
Frank J. Feely, Jr., retired executive vice-president for Exxon Research and Engineering Company, was born on August 26, 1918, in Chicago, Illinois, and died on January 1, 1995, in Center Harbor, New Hampshire. Mr. Feely enjoyed a very distinguished professional career that spanned more than four decades, a career characterized by technical and executive leadership in the petroleum industry. In 1979 Mr. Feely was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in recognition of his professional accomplishments coupled with a demonstrated, strong sense of responsibility and integrity along with a fundamental interest in advancing technological development to serve the needs of society.
Mr. Feely joined Standard Oil of New Jersey (Esso, later renamed Exxon) in 1940 after graduating from the University of Michigan, where he was elected to Sigma Chi and Tau Beta Phi. As an engineer, he gained prominence through his research on brittle fracture, which in the late 1940s led to new industry specifications for storage tanks, pressure vessels, and ships. This work on brittle fracture also identified the cause of the breakup of the Liberty Ships in the North Atlantic during World War II. Mr. Feely was also known for his work on air pollution control devices, evaporation control of gasoline from automobiles, and dispersement and control of oil spills.
As a result of his demonstrated technical and management skills, Mr. Feely in 1966 became the youngest person in Esso to be named vice-president of engineering, parallelling his father's career at Western Electric. As vice-president of engineering, he created a highly competent, motivated, and unparalleled Exxon (Esso) organization. Under his leadership the organization grew very rapidly in dealing with the changes and challenges facing the petroleum industry during the decade of the 1970s.
During this period, he was responsible for engineering designs on the Alaskan Pipeline and the Manhattan Ship Project, which demonstrated ice- breaking technology to allow oil transportation via the Northwest Passage. Also under his leadership, Exxon (Esso) developed state-of-the-art project management technology that established the company as a leader in the industry in the design and implementation of capital projects. During his tenure as engineering vice-president, Exxon (Esso) successfully carried out billions of dollars in capital projects, including several new refineries in the Far East and refinery expansions and upgrades in the United States, Europe, and Japan, as well as a number of petrochemical plants worldwide.
As part of his career development, Mr. Feely had an assignment with Exxon Corporation between 1971 and 1974 as manager of its worldwide logistics operations. After the assignment he rejoined Exxon Research and Engineering and subsequently became its executive vice-president. In addition to his many career accomplishments within Exxon (Esso), Mr. Feely was also very active professionally outside the organization. He was a fellow in the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, chairman of the American Petroleum Institute's Central Committee on Engineering, and a director (1967 to 1982) and chairman of the board (1979-1980) of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). He also served on ANSI's Board of Standards Review from 1981 until his death.
ANSI is a private nonprofit organization that administers the development of voluntary U.S. national standards and represents U.S. interests in the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the International Electrotechnical Commission (ITEC). During his chairmanship of ANSI, Mr. Feely led a successful campaign to defeat efforts by an element of the federal government to take over control of the voluntary standards system administered by the private sector. He was also instrumental in strengthening ANSI's national program and participation in international standardization programs. In recognition of his efforts, in 1982 Mr. Feely was awarded ANSI's Howard Coonley Medal. The award honors an executive who has rendered great service to the national economy through voluntary standardization.
In addition to his professional career, Mr. Feely was very active in the United Methodist Church, in both Westfield, New Jersey, and Moultonborough, New Hampshire. He was also a board member of the Union County, New Jersey, Psychiatric Clinic, and a scoutmaster and trustee of the Westfield Boy Scout troop. In addition, he served as a volunteer with the Moultonborough Meals-on- Wheels Program, trustee of the Moultonborough Public Library, and founding member of the Friends of the Library. As an avid hiker and member of the Appalachian Mountain Club, he climbed all forty-seven mountain peaks above 4,000 feet in New Hampshire. As a high school junior in New Jersey he was state champion in the high jump and established a record that prevailed for a number of years.
Mr. Feely had a full and productive life, rich with many accomplishments and the respect of his family, friends, and associates. To all he will always be remembered as someone
• who was an outstanding professional and community leader,
• who instilled in individuals and organizations the values of integrity and concern for people,
• who was highly competent technically and who inspired others to achieve, and
• who was always positive and wealthy in the joy of his work, his family, and his friends.
Mr. Feely is survived by his wife, Muriel; sons, Joseph, Patrick, and James; daughters, Carol, Jean, Margaret, and Elizabeth; a sister, Ruth; twelve grandchildren; twenty-two nieces and nephews; and not to be forgotten, numerous friends. Mr. Feely's first wife, JoAnne, died in 1967.