Rudolf F. Grah

Picture of Rudy 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 forestry.

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