Herbert H. Alvord, Emeritus Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Michigan, died May 8th, 2018 in Ann Arbor. He was born in Big Bay, Michigan on August 30th, 1919, and spent his boyhood in Marquette. Herbert graduated from Michigan Tech with an engineering degree. His career as a machine designer included years at both Fairbanks-Morse in Beloit, Wisconsin and Cummins Engine Company in Columbus, Indiana.
In 1947, he accepted a position as an instructor at the University of Michigan. While teaching, he earned a Master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering, and was eventually made a full professor. Herbert was a dedicated teacher, centering on the design of machinery. He enjoyed this facet of his work the most, but also did research on gears, laboratory development, and instrumentation. He was highly respected by both students and colleagues. Serving as an expert witness in court cases dealing with machine failure was another aspect of his career. Professor Alvord took two separate leaves of absence during his U of M tenure, working as a guest professor at the University of Roorkee in India and later in Singapore, where he helped to move Engineering from a technical school to the University of Singapore. During their 74 years of marriage, Lorraine and Herbert travelled extensively, visiting every state in the USA and over 85 countries around the world. Herb had a warm smile and a cheerful spirit. He enjoyed writing clever limericks and poems with stick figure illustrations. He planned extensive treasure hunts for his young children, and always had lots of time to play silly games with his grandchildren.
He leaves his wife Lorraine, and three living children: Herbert Alvord Jr., Kristan McCready, and Candace Olson. His son Jonathan died in 1978. There are also four grandchildren: Jonathan McCready, Benjamin Olson, Cory McCready, and Rachel Jennings. Quinn Olson is his sole great grandchild. At his request, there will be no funeral. Cremation has taken place. Family and friends are invited to a memorial reception at the Ann Arbor City Club on Wednesday, May 23rd from 3:00 to 4:30. The family requests no flowers or contributions.
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