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05/03/94

CONTACT: Stanford University News Service (415) 723-2558

Civil engineering Professor William Weaver dies at 64

STANFORD -- Services are scheduled for 11 a.m. Friday, May 6, for William Weaver Jr., a professor of civil engineering at Stanford, who died April 28 of leukemia at the Kaiser Foundation Hospital in Redwood City. He was 64.

The services will be held at the First Congregational Church, corner of Louis and Embarcadero roads, Palo Alto. A reception will follow.

"He was one of the giants in his field and has passed away prematurely," said Haresh C. Shah, professor and chairman of Stanford's department of civil engineering.

During his 25 years on the Stanford faculty, Weaver was both a researcher and a teacher in the field of structural analysis. He was one of the pioneers in applying advanced mathematical methods called infinite element and matrix analysis to analyze complex structures and dynamics. These techniques allowed structural engineers to utilize computers to analyze in great detail the way that large buildings and other complex structures respond when subjected to strong winds, earthquakes and other kinds of loads. As a result, it is now possible to reduce the size of beams and other load-bearing members in buildings while maintaining adequate safety margins.

Weaver authored or co-authored numerous technical papers and six textbooks, including some that were translated into foreign languages. He was a registered professional engineer in California, a consultant to industrial companies and lecturer at numerous conferences and special events.

According to colleagues, Weaver was not only a leading researcher but also a marvelous teacher. He believed in starting each class with a joke, to break the ice. "We always looked forward to what the joke of the day would be," recalled Shah, who took several classes from him as a student. In addition, Weaver was considered one of the best student advisers in civil engineering, spending long hours with his doctoral students.

In 1983, Weaver was diagnosed with a brain tumor. Although not expected to live, he underwent two operations and fully recovered. As a result of the experience, however, he decided to take early retirement so that he could do a number of things that he had been unable to do while working full time.

"After his retirement, Bill lived a wonderful life," Shah said. In addition to producing revised editions of several of his earlier textbooks, Weaver pursued hobbies including golf, reading and travel. He maintained a vacation home on Kauai.

Born Aug. 19, 1929, in Sacramento, Weaver earned a bachelor's degree in civil engineering at the University of California-Berkeley in 1951, and a master's in 1952 and a doctorate in 1959 from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. From 1953 to 1955 he served in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. He was a structural designer in Sacramento from 1955 to 1957, and joined the Stanford faculty as assistant professor in 1959.

Weaver is survived by his wife of 16 years, Connie Weaver of Los Altos; two daughters, April Weaver of San Diego and Alissa Weaver of Charlottesville, Va.; four sisters and two brothers.

Memorial contributions can be made to the American Cancer Society, 535 Race Street, Suite 200, San Jose, CA 95126.

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