Rudolf F. Grah
Born: San Diego, California, August 21, 1915.
Died: Placerville, California, May 25, 1978.
BS, Oregon State College, 1939: MS University of California, 1941: PhD
(Forestry), University of Michigan, 1958.
Lecturer in Forestry, 1955-1961: Professor of Forestry (Forest Management),
1961-1978: Chairman, Department of Forestry and Resource Management and
Department of Forestry and Conservation, 1974-1978.
Upon completion of his MS in 1941, Rudy Grah was appointed as a field
assistant in the Department of Forestry, initially with responsibility for
Blodgett Forest. From early in 1943 to the end of 1945 he worked as a
forester for the U.S. Rubber Development Corporation in remote areas of the
Amazon Basin, searching for and developing rubber sources to replace
supplies cut off by World War !!.
Upon his return to Berkeley in 1946, he was appointed as assistant
extension forester in the Agricultural Extension Service, working closely
with Woody Metcalf. In academic year 1953/54 he took a leave of absence
for doctoral studies at Ann Arbor. In 1955 he transferred from the
Extension Service to an appointment as Lecturer in the School of Forestry
and in 1961 he was promoted to Professor of Forestry.
His initial teaching assignment was for the courses in forest engineering
and in production management. Later he shifted to the survey course in
general forestry, the senior course in forest regulation and management,
and the graduated case studies course. he also participated actively in
the summer camp courses at Meadow Valley, particularly enjoying both the
field work and the close association with students.
His major research interest developed in three main phases. The first
phase was directed to the effects of forest stocking on the physical and
economic output of the forest, centered in the Douglas-fir type of the
North Coast. The second phase involved the economic analysis of thinning
regimes. His work in this area began with a sabbatical leave in 1965/66
during which he served as initial p[project leader of a study of thinning
in the extensive Monterey pine forests of New Zealand. Later he began such
studies in the mixed conifer forests of the Sierra Nevada. The third phase
of his research was directed to the establishment of growing stock goals
for even-aged and all-aged management and to the biological and economic
analysis of the results to be expected under the alternate management
regimes. This word was centered at Blodgett Foresty.
Grah was elected as chairman of the faculty of the School in 1964 and was
subsequently reelected to four more two year terms. In this capacity he
also served as Chairman of the Academic Planning Committee. During the
five year period from 1969 to 1974 he was one of the handful of individuals
who played a major role in the time consuming and often frustrating efforts
which finally let to the merger of the School with the College of
Agricultural Sciences to form the College of Natural Resources.
With the establishment of the new College in 1974, Rudy Grah was the
consensus choice of the faculty for appointment as chairman of both the
undergraduate Department of Forestry and Resource Management and the
graduate Department of Forestry and Conservation. With his intimate
knowledge of the new college and the people in it, his unflagging optimism,
his capacity to work hard enough to justify that optimism, and his personal
dedication to the forestry school and its students, he contributed greatly
to the total forestry program at Berkeley during this difficult transition
to a greatly changed organizational structure.
Rudy Grah was a big man, both in stature and in outlook. Above all, he
enjoyed working with people and working in the forest. He spent the day
of May 25, 1978, at Blodgett Forest with a group of industry leaders, lay
down to rest before dinner in Placerville, and quietly passed on. His
sudden death was a great loss to every student and faculty member in
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