Published June 19, 2014
Rowland Richards Jr., a UB civil engineering professor for 30 years, died Jan. 8 in his Buffalo home after a brief illness. He was 77.
Born in New York City and raised in Southern California, Richards received a bachelor’s degree from Princeton University in 1957, a master’s from California Institute of Technology in 1958 and a doctorate from Princeton in 1964.
He taught at Princeton for several years and at the University of Delaware for a decade before his wife, Martha, persuaded him to take a position as a professor in her hometown of Buffalo in 1980.
At UB, Richards taught courses ranging from fluid mechanics to structural aesthetics.
A specialist in seismic soil mechanics, he authored numerous journal articles and book chapters, as well as well as the textbook “Principles of Solid Mechanics,” which contains elegantly hand-drawn diagrams and plentiful footnotes full of literary and observational asides.
He retired from UB in 2010.
As a young man, Richards twice was a U.S. national champion archer and won the 1950 World Junior Archery Championship held in Brussels. He spent his summer vacations as a youth working at Trail Lake Ranch in Wyoming. As a college student, he spent summers gold mining in California and the Yukon Territory of Canada.
In 1960, he purchased farmland in Waitsfield, Vt., where he opened Floodwoods Farm to raise Belted Galloway cattle.
He taught during the school year, but during the summers he worked the farm, which continues to be operated by his family.