Obituary: Gulbransen, professor emeritus of metallurgy, 88

Leonard B. Gulbransen, Ph.D., professor emeritus of metallurgy, died May 27, 2009. He was 88.

Leonard Gulbransen

Gulbransen joined Washington University as associate professor of metallurgy in 1954. In 1958, he was promoted to professor, and he became emeritus in 1991.

While at the University, Gulbransen focused his research on physical metallurgy and X-ray spectrography.

“In his very gentle, friendly way, Professor Leonard Gulbransen made a big impact on people’s lives,” said Kenneth Jerina, D.Sc., the Earl E. and Myrtle E. Walker Professor and associate chair of the Department of Mechanical, Aerospace & Structural Engineering. “Colleagues as well as students benefited from his mentoring. He was a special person with the instinctive manner of a teacher.”

Jerina earned a doctorate from WUSTL in 1974; Gulbransen was a member of Jerina’s dissertation committee.

“Professor Gulbransen would always respond to questions with words of wisdom and guidance and to requests for his time or resources with commitment that encouraged young people,” Jerina said. “He will be dearly missed by all of his former students, colleagues and friends at Washington University.”

Gulbransen served as vice chairman of the American Society for Metals from 1961-62.

Before coming to WUSTL, Gulbransen was assistant professor of metallurgy at the Colorado School of Mines, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in engineering in 1942.

Gulbransen was born in Denver and served in the U.S. Navy from 1944-46.

In 1947 and 1949, he earned a master’s degree and doctorate, respectively, from the University of Utah.

He is survived by his children Darlene Berdeaux, Lynn Lipke, Paula Nicholson, Amber Wamhoff, George Gulbransen and Janet Gulbransen; seven grandchildren; and one great-granddaughter.

Donations may be made to Loaves & Fishes, 2750 McKelvey Rd., Maryland Heights, Mo. 63043; or the American Heart Association, 460 N. Lindbergh Blvd., St. Louis, Mo. 63141.