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BY JIM WILLIAMS
HARVEY WALTER SCHADLER, technical director (retired) at the General Electric Corporate Research Center in Niskayuna, New York, died November 30, 2014, at the Hospice Inn, Saint Peter’s Hospital in Albany, at age 83 from ...
HARVEY WALTER SCHADLER, technical director (retired) at the General Electric Corporate Research Center in Niskayuna, New York, died November 30, 2014, at the Hospice Inn, Saint Peter’s Hospital in Albany, at age 83 from complications related to Alzheimer’s.
Harvey was born January 4, 1931, in Cincinnati, to Harvey George Schadler and Ida Beinert Schadler. He graduated from Walnut Hills High School in 1949 and, with a John McMullen Scholarship, attended Cornell University, where he was a member of Tau Beta Pi and Quill and Dagger. He graduated magna cum laude with a BS in physical metallurgy in 1954.
While at Cornell, he met Margaret (Margy) Eleanor Horsfall of Hamden, Connecticut, daughter of James Gordon Horsfall and Sue Belle Overton Horsfall. They married in New Haven on August 28, 1954. After Harvey received his PhD in metallurgical engineering from Purdue University in 1957 the couple moved to Schenectady, where Harvey worked at the General Electric Corporate Research and Development Center until he retired in 1996. He created an environment that encouraged new ideas, risk taking, effective communication, teamwork, and technical excellence. His technical achievements included involvement in coproducing the first major interpretation and compilation of microstructure-property relationships in superconductors.
He was an expert in high-temperature materials for turbines, both on land and in aircraft, and nuclear applications. He also was very knowledgeable in magnetic materials, corrosion and wear, gas-metal interactions, and materials processing, among other areas. He acquired such knowledge during his management assignments because he was both a very smart individual and a great listener. During his long and distinguished career at the GE Corporate Research and Development Center, he became something of a “corporate memory” for materials science and engineering at the company.
His breadth of knowledge made him a particularly effective member of National Academy of Engineering (NAE) and National Research Council (NRC) committees, where he contributed without being overly forceful or insistent about his views being accepted. From 1991 through 2007 he was either the chair or a member of 20 such activities, representing a signficant commitment of his time. He chaired the NRC Committee on Materials Research for Defense-After-Next (1999–2002) and was a member of the Board on Army Science and Technology (1992–97) and Army Research Laboratory Technical Assessment Board (1996–2000). For the NAE, he was active on the Materials Engineering Peer and Executive Committees and in the Materials Engineering Section, with terms as vice chair and chair.
He was a fellow of ASM International and in 1966 won the Alfred H. Geisler Memorial Award, which recognizes an outstanding young materials scientist/engineer, from its Eastern New York chapter. In 1992 he received Purdue University’s Distinguished Engineering Alumnus Award. In his acceptance talk, his advice to students included the following:
Work hard and learn all you can. Whatever you choose to do, dedicate yourself to it, involve yourself in it fully, and make sure that you keep a broad perspective on what is going on in the world. Think about the whole problem…not just the narrow field in which you were trained. You can’t just stick to your own thing and make a [real] contribution.
What great advice that is!
Harvey Schadler was both my friend and colleague. When I think about him, the following characteristics immediately come to mind: intelligent, thoughtful, trustworthy, helpful, high integrity, observant, principled but open minded, committed to progress and excellence. He always had an interesting and helpful view of complex situations, both technical and interpersonal, but he was not one to offer his observations unless he was asked.
He particularly disliked destructive conflict and, as a consequence, became an effective mediator when tough situations arose. Although he never complained about this informal role, I knew him well enough to believe these instances were very hard for him. This particular aspect of his overall contribution often went unrecognized but was enormously helpful, in no small part because he was so effective and skillful in this role.
Harvey is survived by his wife Margaret; sister Janet Schadler Welch; children Janet Schadler, Edward (Ted) Schadler (Deirdre Fay Quinn Schadler; Baltimore), and Linda Feist (Thomas; Pittsburgh); and grandchildren Edward and Annabelle Feist, and Rory and Sophie Schadler.
Harvey was a great human being as well as a tremendous technologist. He is remembered as a loving husband, father, friend, and colleague. He was an effective mentor and a generous, wonderful communicator with time always to listen to a concern, counsel a tough choice, or chat with a stranger at the gas station, barbershop, or airport. Those of us who knew Harvey will miss him in all the days to come.