Russell Mesler

Memorial services for Russell B. Mesler, 83, Lawrence, KS will be held at 11 a.m. Thursday, August 4, 2011 at the Trinity Lutheran Church in Lawrence, KS.  Private inurnment will be in the Pioneer Cemetery in Lawrence.  He died on Friday, July 29, 2011 at his home.

He was born on August 24, 1927 in Kansas City, MO, the son of James Elmer and Catherine Knaack Mesler.

Russell was a graduate of Paseo High School in Kansas City, MO. He then served in the U.S. Navy during World War II. Following the war, he received his B.S. degree in Engineering from the University of Kansas in 1949.  He studied at the Oak Ridge School of Reactor Technology in Tennessee. He received his M.S. and PhD degrees from the University of Michigan in 1955.

Dr. Mesler was a professor emeritus in chemical and petroleum engineering at the University of Kansas and a professional engineer. While teaching, he was designated as the Warren S. Bellows Distinguished Professor of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering. He came to KU in 1957 from Ann Arbor, MI.

In addition to doing research work in heat transfer focusing on boiling in thin liquid films, he helped to develop and teach courses in nuclear engineering.  He pioneered experimental measurement techniques that have contributed immensely to the understanding of the phenomena of nucleate boiling.  He used high-speed photography to obtain some amazing “movies” of the boiling phenomenon.  He supervised the construction and operation of the KU nuclear reactor.  The nuclear operation was commissioned in 1961 and continued for almost 25 years before it was terminated.  During his career, he had two sabbaticals to Berkeley Nuclear Laboratory in England and traveled in Europe presenting research papers, many of which were published in the AIChE Journal (The American Institute of Chemical Engineers). He retired in 1992 after a distinguished academic career.

He was a member of the Trinity Lutheran Church in Lawrence, the American Society of Chemical and Petroleum Engineers, the American Nuclear Society (for over 50 years) and the Tau Beta Pi Honorary Engineering Society.  He had also received numerous National Science Foundation research grants.

He married Jenny-Lea McGowan on June 9, 1951 in Lawrence.  She preceded him in death on December 4, 2005.

Survivors include two daughters; Diane Mailen, of Pomona, KS, Sandra Mesler, of Berlin, Germany, two sons; Scott Mesler, of Lawrence, KS, Doug Mesler, of Tampa, FL, seven grandchildren and one great grandson.

The family will greet friends from 7-8:30 p.m. Wednesday at Warren-McElwain Mortuary in Lawrence.

The family suggests memorials in his name to the Lawrence Audio Reader, KCUR Public Radio or KCPT Public Television and may be sent in care of Warren-McElwain Mortuary in Lawrence.

11 Condolences

  1. Marylee Southard on July 31, 2011 at 5:40 pm

    Russ was a true gentleman and an encouraging and kind colleague. I am blessed to have worked with him!

  2. Von & Bev Edman on August 1, 2011 at 7:14 pm

    Scott and family,
    So sorry to hear of your father’s passing. We wanted to express our condolences and let you know our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

    Von and Bev

  3. Traci Hurst on August 1, 2011 at 11:35 pm

    Sandy and family,
    I just read about your father’s passing. You all are in my thoughts and prayers. Sandy, please know that I’m with you across the miles.

  4. Marcia McPhail on August 3, 2011 at 12:33 pm

    Scott, Mindy, and girls,
    I was so sorry to read that your father, grandfather, and special friend had died. I’ve heard so many good things about him thru Mindy that I almost felt I knew him. Scott, how wonderful it is that you and your dad were able to spend so much time together–you’ll have those good, good memories forever. I’ll be thinking of all of you. May God bless all of your family.

  5. Steve and Joy Bunch on August 3, 2011 at 1:49 pm

    We were sorry to hear of Mr. Mesler’s passing and extend our sympathy to his family. He was a good neighbor and we enjoyed visiting with him when he was out for his daily walks in the neighborhood.

  6. Molly Brecour on August 4, 2011 at 3:02 pm

    Dear Sandy and family, Hang in there. We are thinking of you. Take care, Molly and family

  7. Erlend Lillelien on August 15, 2011 at 2:16 am

    I am so sorry for your loss, Sandy. Please also convey my condolences to the rest of your family.
    Your friend, Erlend

  8. Raphael (Ralph) Paoli on May 31, 2012 at 12:48 pm

    Very sad to read about Dr. Messler passing away. He was my mentor in 1967 – 1968 at KU and I assisted him in his research on Molten metal explosions using High-speed photography.

  9. David Khan on June 3, 2013 at 11:59 am

    Back in 1981, from Pakistan, I applied for addimission to KU graduate school and remember writing a letter to Professor Mesler. Few months later, he sent me a letter of admission and encouraged me to join KU. I flew from Pakistan to Kansas and met him in a small Nuclear Plant on KU. He was gentleman and had a great sense of humor. I liked him very much and miss him. David Khan, Engineer/Alaska, USA.

  10. Gopalan Balaji on August 16, 2017 at 9:04 am

    Dr Mesler was my MS adviser from 1987-88. He helped me bridge from India to the US, and to this day that has helped me in my now long course in the US. He was a fantastic human being, thoughtful, intellectual, and always curious. RIP Russ.

  11. Narayan Hospeti on November 16, 2018 at 4:25 pm

    Dr Messler was my advisor for my MS and PhD desecration’s at KU. He helped me many ways. Thank the Lord I met him in early 1990’s at Lawrence. Rest In Peace Dr Messler.
    Narayan Hospeti Ph D

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