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Robert M. ‘Bob’ Engler

On Thursday, March 5, 2015, Robert M. “Bob” Engler, beloved husband of Pat Mack Engler, departed this world surrounded by family.  He was 73 years young.

Bob was preceded in death by a son, Thomas Alexander Engler; his parents, Alexander Kerr Jr. and Grace Trigg Kerr; and a brother Greg B. Kerr.

He is survived by his wife, Pat; son, Robert M. “Rip” Engler II (Stephanie) of Vicksburg; daughter, Jimi Su Bonnette (Ronnie) of Bush, La.; five grandchildren, Eden and Arlo Engler,  Serena, Ansel and Gabby Bonnette.

In addition, he is survived by a brother, Bruce Kerr; a sister, Dianne Bass; and two nieces, Jodie and Brandie Bass.

Bob was born Oct. 18, 1941, in Alexandria, La. He was a veteran, having enlisted in the United States Navy. After serving his country, Bob enrolled at Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, La. and obtained degrees in agronomy in the chemistries of flooded and upland soils, BS (1967), MS (1969), and Ph.D. (1972).  He was a certified soil scientist.

In 1973, Dr. Engler began a distinguished career as research soil scientist in the Environmental Laboratory of the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center at the Waterways Experiment Station in Vicksburg.

He advanced quickly through progressively more responsible positions — from principal investigator, project manager, and division chief, to senior research scientist — over a federal career spanning more than 35 years. He acted as technical consultant to the U.S. Corps of Engineers on environmental regulatory criteria and guidelines, and served as an expert witness in controversial environmental litigation and hearings.

He was a delegate to numerous international symposia on European and Japanese dredging and environmental practices. From 1977 to 2005, he served as a U.S. State Department representative at the annual consultative and scientific group meetings for the London Convention and was elected chairman for four terms.

He served as an active member of the Western Dredging Association, Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, American Society of Civil Engineers, and the Coastal, Oceans, Ports and Rivers Institute.

As a member of the International Navigation Association, Dr. Engler served as chairman of the environmental commission and member of the executive committee. He was chair of an intergovernmental environmental commission that included the American Association of Port Authorities setting the global “state-of-the-practice” in ensuring sustainable development of navigation infrastructure.

He served on the Environmental Protection Agency’s Science Advisory Board and several national research council committees as federal liaison. Dr. Engler ably served the U.S. Army in a number of important senior capacities by participating in and directing several major water resource, environmental and engineering-related research programs.

He made significant contributions to the overall success of the Corps’ mission and civil works program. Dr. Engler was especially proud of his work with the United Nations as an instructor in the planning, development, and presentation of numerous lectures and training courses on hazardous waste management policies and strategies to developing countries.

Dr. Engler was a member of the honor societies Alpha Zeta, Gamma Sigma Delta, and Sigma Xi.  During his federal service, he received numerous awards, most notably the William R. Murden Award from Dredging Contractors of America, the U.S. Army Engineer Association Silver Order of the de Fleury Medal, and the U. S. Army Meritorious Civilian Service Award from the chief of engineers.  In 2008, he was inducted into the U.S. Army Engineer Waterways Experiment Station’s Gallery of Distinguished Employees.

In 2006, Dr. Engler joined the consulting firm, Moffatt & Nichol, as a senior environmental scientist and worked on many environmental, dredging and contaminated sediments-related projects ranging from harbor deepening studies to Superfund sediment cleanup activities.

Locally, Bob was a member of the Vicksburg Lions Club, Y Men, and the Army-Navy Club of Vicksburg.  Soon after he arrived in Vicksburg, he was recruited by the Vicksburg Soccer Organization, where he dedicated more than 27 years to coaching, league directorship, VSO president, and refereeing. His teams were perennial representatives at state and regional soccer tournaments. In addition, for five years, Bob volunteered as an assistant soccer coach at St. Aloysius High School.

Bob was an active communicant of Christ Episcopal Church.  He will be remembered as a devoted husband, father, grandfather, “Bampy,” and teacher.  He was kindhearted and loved helping people.  He will be missed.

Funeral services for Dr. Engler will be Saturday, March 7, 2015, at 2 p.m. at Christ Episcopal Church. There will be visitation from noon until time of the service. Burial will be at Christ Episcopal Church Columbarium in the Church garden.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that Memorials be made to Christ Episcopal Church, 1115 Main St. Vicksburg, MS  39183.