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.