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BY RALPH B. PECK
JAMES P. GOULD, retired partner of Mueser Rutledge Consulting Engineers, died of lung cancer on Christmas Day, 1998. He was seventy-five. His professional career was devoted to the analysis, design, construction, and behavior of ...
JAMES P. GOULD, retired partner of Mueser Rutledge Consulting Engineers, died of lung cancer on Christmas Day, 1998. He was seventy-five. His professional career was devoted to the analysis, design, construction, and behavior of engineering works in the great variety of geological materials left by nature.
Jim was born in Seattle, where his father, James Edward Gould, was dean of men at the University of Washington. Jim's father had taught mathematics and astronomy after acquiring degrees in mathematics from Washington, Harvard, Berkeley, and Berlin, as well as a degree in architecture. With this family background, and the experience of helping his father build a summer house on a steep slope on Puget Sound, Jim acquired a taste for the branch of civil engineering later known as geotechnics, a taste that led him into a career that he found totally satisfying.
An only child, Jim lived with his mother after his father died when Jim was still in high school. He attended the University of Washington and was placed in World War II's V-12 program. He joined the U.S. Army on graduation, was trained as a combat topographer, and was sent to Guam to await the invasion of Japan. Hiroshima led to his discharge.
Jim returned to his studies, first to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for a master's degree in civil engineering in 1946, then to the University of Washington for graduate studies in geology. Under Arthur Casagrande at Harvard, Jim received master's and doctor of science degrees in soil mechanics in 1948 and 1949. His D.Sc. thesis, on the analysis of pore pressure and settlement observations of the dredged clay fill at Logan Airport in Boston, set the tone of much of his future work on the behavior of major geotechnical projects.
From 1950 to 1953, Jim was employed in the Earth Dams Section of the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, where he analyzed the bureau's pioneering observations of the pore pressures that developed in recently constructed embankment dams. In 1953 Jim began his long career with the firm now known as Mueser Rutledge Consulting Engineers of New York City, whose roots originated with Daniel E. Moran, one of the foremost foundation engineers of the last century. He became an associate of the firm in 1955 and a partner in 1973, and retired as senior partner in 1994. He continued actively consulting until his death.
His assignments with the firm included charge of the work on an imposing list of major projects. Many were located in the nation's capital. These included the reconstruction of the east front of the Capitol Building from 1955 to 1960; underpinning the House of Representatives wing from 1962 to 1964; the addition to the National Gallery of Art from 1970 to 1972; the rehabilitation of the Key Bridge in 1982; the South Quadrangle Development of the Smithsonian Institution from 1984 to 1986; the Canadian Chancery foundation from 1986 to 1988; and underpinning the Freer Gallery from 1989 to 1990. Most notable, however, was his long activity in connection with the exploration of subsurface conditions, advising and monitoring geotechnical design and construction, and serving as a member of the Board of Engineering Consultants for the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, in support of one of the great underground projects of our times.
Elsewhere, he directed the firm's work on foundations for several major buildings in New York City, including the Chase Manhattan Bank from 1958 to 1960, the North River Waterfront Redevelopment Project from 1965 to 1968, the Battery Park City Development from 1970 to 1976, and the Park Avenue Tunnel Rehabilitation from 1988 to 1989. He investigated the landslides at Pacific Palisades, Los Angeles, from 1958 to 1960, the locks on the Tennessee- Tombigbee Canal in Mississippi from 1972 to 1978, Dry Dock No. 4 at Newport News from 1979 to 1981, and a variety of other challenging works. He served on numerous consulting boards for subway projects, the Superconducting Super-Collider, and the Channel Tunnel.
Jim was active in the American Society of Civil Engineers. He was installed an honorary member in 1990 at the annual meeting in San Francisco, where he also delivered the prestigious Terzaghi Lecture. Over the years he had served on the executive committee of the Geotechnical Division and as a member of the technical committees on Earth Retaining Structures, Grouting, Tunnel Lining Design, and Groundwater. He was a member of the Transportation Research Board, the Underground Technology Research Council, and the American Arbitration Association. He was an honorary member of the New York Academy of Sciences, and in 1988 was elected to the National Academy of Engineering. A long-time member of the Moles, an organization of workers in heavy construction, he received its Distinguished Member Award in 1992. He was a fellow of the American Consulting Engineers Council.
His forty publications included the first version of the U.S. Navy NAVFAC Design Manual DM-7, “Soil Mechanics, Foundations and Earth Structures,” a document that set the practice of subsurface engineering in design offices worldwide when it appeared in 1971. His papers were never trivial; they grew out of personal experience with complex design and construction projects in geologically complex situations. His oral presentations were lively, full of information, and delivered with vigor and a characteristic, often salty, humor.
Jim married while a graduate student at MIT and Harvard. He and his wife, Penelope, moved to Denver while Jim worked for the Bureau of Reclamation, and where his daughter, Diane, and son, James Edward, were born. The marriage ended in divorce in 1972. In 1984 he married Kristin Osterholm White, who survives him. He gave to his family and his hobbies the same intensity of devotion as he gave to his profession. He was a fine amateur painter who went on sketching trips overseas; he loved music, especially George Frideric Handel, and regularly attended chamber-music presentations or operas with Kristin. But his main hobby was a combination of military history and artistic skill. During his extensive stays in the Washington, D.C., area, he visited Civil War battlefields and historical exhibits. He could speak authoritatively on Napoleon and the Duke of Wellington, on the engineering accomplishments of the Roman Legions, and on the influence of the terrain on the battles of the American Revolution and the Civil War. Yet, his main interest was in the history of the British Army, from the War of the Roses through World War II. In his later years, Jim traversed the battlefields of World War I, particularly those at Gallipoli, Turkey, which he visited four times, mapping and sketching.
A long-time hobby, combining his love of history and his artistic skills, was assembling and restoring the pieces in what became one of the great personal collections of miniature lead soldiers. His encyclopedic knowledge of the details of military dress, his familiarity with history, and his skill in restoration earned him the respect of leading collectors. He traveled with Kristin to the major auctions of these mementos in London, often twice a year, as well as to Gallipoli where he felt obliged to equip himself with the best maps from the British War Museum in order to retrace faithfully the British Army's movements through the difficult terrain.
In his wife's words, he bore his last illness stoically, but resented being unable to finish the jobs on which he was working.