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Civil Engineering Alumnus George G. Goble Dies

September 22, 2017

George G. Goble, Civil Engineering Alumni '51 passed away Sept. 19, 2017. 

There are some giants in the world of engineering, some more recognized than others. For those of us in the Deep Foundation and Bridge Engineering World, George G. Goble, Ph.D., P.E., was a giant. He had the intellect, knowledge and most important, the drive to change our world. His keen sense of where technology is leading us and how it can be used for a more effective and efficient use of resources helped us all in this industry to improve and renew. 

George Goble was born in 1929 in Boise, Idaho. His family had a farm where he learned to do honest, hard work. This background formed his thinking as to what a good person should and should not do to better him or herself and this world. [He received his B.S. degree in civil engineering in 1951 from the University of Idaho and went on to complete his Master's and Ph.D. degrees in civil/structural engineering at the University of Washington. He spent one year on a Fulbright scholarship at the University of Stuttgart.] He became Professor and Chairman of the departments of civil engineering first at Case Western Reserve University and later at the University of Colorado Boulder. Throughout his professional life he worked as a consultant. 

Through his work at Pile Dynamics, Goble Rausche Likins and Associates (GRL), and Bridge Diagnostics, George recognized early on the potential of testing technology applied to infrastructure. Many different pieces of the puzzle had to be put together: the theory, the sensor selection and packaging, the computer and software development. More difficult yet: it was necessary to convince people that the technology would work and help engineers and contractors to make a better product for the owner. The general electronics industry was not interested and so it was up to George Goble to get people and resources together. It was his gift to instill the same enthusiasm that he had for these innovations in those people that worked with him and that he met and talked to. That was instrumental in the founding of the companies and the promotion of the technology. It required a lot of different and hard work and Professor Goble didn't mind to climb the greasy pile driving leads to attach gauges and do the field work in polar cold and desert heat. And out of those field experiences came many humorous stories which everyone listening enjoyed. 

True to his upbringing, George would never stop working, and he was a vocal fixture in several Transportation Research Board Committees until just a few years ago. 

Sadly, George G. Goble passed away Sept. 19, 2017 in Longmont, Colorado, shortly before his 88th birthday. He is survived by his wife Christine Goble, his daughter Tanja, son Gregory and a grandchild. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and we will thankfully keep remembering him for a long time. 

Written by Frank Rausche, Ph.D., P.E., D.GE 

More on the life of George G. Goble. 

About the University of Idaho

The University of Idaho, home of the Vandals, is Idaho’s land-grant, national research university. From its residential campus in Moscow, U of I serves the state of Idaho through educational centers in Boise, Coeur d’Alene and Idaho Falls, nine research and Extension centers, plus Extension offices in 42 counties. Home to nearly 12,000 students statewide, U of I is a leader in student-centered learning and excels at interdisciplinary research, service to businesses and communities, and in advancing diversity, citizenship and global outreach. U of I competes in the Big Sky Conference. Learn more at uidaho.edu