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Dr. Grady Rylander, Jr. went to his Home in Heaven on May 22, 2010. He is a beloved husband, brother, father, grandfather and great-grandfather. Grady was born on August 23, 1921 in Frio County on a farm near Pearsall, Texas to Julia McFadden and Henry Grady Rylander. He graduated in June, 1943 with a B.S. degree in Mechanical Engineering from UT Austin. He married Grace Elizabeth (Betty) Zirkel, September 24, 1943 at the Methodist Church in Norwood, Pennsylvania. He was involved in the design of jet engines at Westinghouse Steam Division at South Philadelphia between 1943 and 1947.

Grady and Betty returned to Austin, Texas in May, 1947, and he began a 50 year career teaching at the University of Texas in the Department of Mechanical Engineering. He obtained his M.S. degree in Mechanical Engineering in 1951. He obtained his Ph.D. degree in Mechanical Engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology in 1965. He served as Chairman of the UT Austin Department of Mechanical Engineering from 1976 to 1986.

Grady was one of the founders of the Center for Electromechanics and had a distinguished research career studying tribology (multi-phase lubricants and bearings) and machine design. He published more than 100 technical articles and authored or edited 3 books.

Grady was active in both the Methodist and Baptist Churches. Grady is survived by his loving wife of 67 years, Betty Rylander, and his sister, Jane Weekley-Brown. Betty and Grady have two sons, Grady III (Margie) and Gary (Cathy), and two daughters, Betty Grace Weldon (Jim) and Martha Jane Beiter (Kevin). Grady always had time for his 12 grandchildren at the farm in Bertram or in Rockport, Texas: Christopher Grady Rylander (Nichole), Ingrid Kincaid (Layton), Matthew Rylander (Lori), Nathan Rylander, Jonathan Rylander (Kristin), Rebekah Rylander, Katie Weldon, Virginia Weldon, Andrew Weldon, Bonny Beiter, Daniel Beiter, and Michael Beiter. His great-grandchildren Jaxson Kincaid, Adelyn Kincaid, and Lani Kincaid barely got to know him. Grady was a great teacher and role model for his family and students. He was a kind and gentle man. He will be lovingly remembered.

Obituary printed in the Austin-American Statesman. May 26, 2010. Weed-Corley-Fish Funeral Homes & Cremation Services.

Dr. H. Grady Rylander, former ME Chairman, teaching

Dr. H. Grady Rylander, former ME Chairman, teaching

The following are quotes and excerpts about Dr. H. Grady Rylander, former chairman of the Mechanical Engineering Department.

I loved Grady Rylander. He was important to me. I know I am not alone in that. I knew him for many years and I have too many stories to tell them all. But I will not be brief, not about Grady Rylander. (Read further…)

Don Berry

Grady was a great colleague, boss, and friend, and he had an almost Lincolnesque gift of gab. When he was Department Chair, every meeting was a combination of business and chewing the fat. Whenever I had a matter that required his attention, I always asked for 30 minutes on his schedule: 15 minutes to address the problem at hand and 15 to listen to his stories, which were always entertaining.

The department faculty and their families were all family to Grady. Our annual departmental picnics at his ranch in Liberty Hill were events that everyone, young and old, looked forward to with great anticipation. My three kids, now parents themselves in their 30's and 40's, still talk about their adventures at the Rylander ranch. Grady remembered every one of them and asked about them every time he saw me.

Grady was also a great mentor. He taught me a lot about teaching, about practical engineering, and about priorities in life. He took his job very seriously, but made it his business to be home in time for dinner with his beloved Betty and their four wonderful children every single night, come hell or high water.

I'll miss seeing Grady's smiling face around the department, but my fond memories of him and my respect for him as a mentor and role model will be with me forever.

Sr. Lecturer Billy Wood and Dr. Grady Rylander at the 2009 Mechanical Engineering Department Christmas party

Sr. Lecturer Billy Wood and Dr. Grady Rylander at the 2009 Mechanical Engineering Department Christmas party

Philip Schmidt

Thank you for sharing this wonderful man with me during my tenure as a student in Mechanical Engineering. He is the best ME Professor I ever had the honor of knowing. I will never forget his class, "Design for Production." Nor will I forget his class, "Rolling and Sliding Bearings" which still reminds me of the importance of proper machine lubrication.

His sense of humor was keen and delightful. The senior breakfast he held at his ranch showed what a caring man he was. The Cockrell School of Engineering (then known as the College of Engineering) is much better for his presence and contributions. His love of teaching and care for his students was evident. I have taken many Engineering classes at The University of Texas at Austin, but none finer than his. He inspired me then, as he still does today, to be the best Engineer I can be. I am very proud to have known him. I will never forget him!

Steve Brown


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