To avoid system errors, if Chrome is your preferred browser, please update to the latest version of Chrome (81 or higher) or use an alternative browser.
Click here to login if you're an NAE Member
Recover Your Account Information
This is the third 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.
BY GORDON H. MILLAR
Robert E. Stewart, a leading agricultural engineering researcher and a central figure in the development of agricultural engineering education, died on November 13, 1983, at the age of sixty-eight. From 1968 until 1980, he was a professor at Texas A&M University and was named distinguished professor emeritus in 1981.
His contributions to the broad field of agriculture and to agricultural engineering are recognized by every serious researcher in the United States and in many other countries. He was a strong leader, a talented educator, and a prolific writer. His principal research was in the area of animal environmental stresses and regulation. Moreover, his work has been applied to substantially improve the animal-based food production capabilities not only of the United States, but also of India and Australia, countries in which major improvements in the food supply attest to his perceptiveness as well as to the accuracy and detail of his research.
Robert Stewart was born in Carthage, Missouri, and received a B.S. (1948), an M.S. (1950), and a Ph.D (1953), all from the University of Missouri. In 1970 he was presented with the University of Missouri Honor Award for distinguished service in engineering.
Robert Stewart is survived by his wife Bonnie; a daughter, Lillian Carl; two sisters; and two grandsons. He was devoted to his family, and despite the demands of his profession and the worldwide scope of his research activities, he always found enough time to participate in family activities.
He was a past president of the American Society of Agricultural Engineers. Prior to joining the Agricultural Engineering Department of Texas A&M as distinguished professor, he was chairman of the Department of Agricultural Engineering at Ohio State University.
Robert Stewart served on the Board on Agriculture of the National Research Council for two three-year terms. He was also past chairman of the Engineers' Joint Council on Engineering Interactions in Biology and Medicine. He was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 1978.
Bob was very active in developing technical information leading to better and more economical dairy and meat production and was the author of numerous publications. In 1983 he received the Cyrus Hall McCormick Medal from the American Society of Agricultural Engineers for "exceptional and meritorious engineering achievement in agriculture."
More than anyone else, Bob Stewart anticipated the trend in modern agriculture toward raising agricultural animals in engineered environments. Early in his career, he recognized the importance of the environment and, using sound engineering approaches, established criteria for agricultural structures and the methodology for controlling the animal environment. He ranks very close to the top of those in the agricultural professional world devoted to the study of environmental physiology.
Despite his scientific and intellectual depth, Bob Stewart never forgot the fact that without engineering applications the science of agriculture would not reach its full contribution potential. He maintained close associations with the American Society for Engineering Education and the National Society of Professional Engineers. Robert Stewart sustained an active career in engineering and was a registered engineer in several states.
Bob was both a scientist and an engineer, and he will be greatly missed by his colleagues, his associates, and so many of his students. Just before his passing, he served as a member of the National Academy of Engineering Agricultural Peer Committee, which was organized to bring qualified agricultural engineering candidates into the academy as members. Although he could not travel, he served on the committee with great perception, wisdom, and talent. As a result of his work, several agricultural engineers are now members of the National Academy of Engineering.
The nation and the world are better off for Robert Stewart's scientific and engineering contributions, which will be enjoyed by grateful populations in the many years ahead.