American Society of Civil Engineers


Tufte, Edward E.; ASCE Fellow (1912-1999)

, pp. 629-630

Document type: Memoir
Part of: Transactions of the American Society of Civil Engineers 2000
Abstract: Mr. Tufte was born on July 30, 1912 in Northwood, North Dakota, the youngest child of Halvor H. Tufte and Kari Hansen Tufte. He received a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering from the University of North Dakota in 1933, winning a Sigma Xi award for research there, and did graduate work in soil mechanics at Colorado A & M in Fort Collins.
His career as a civil engineer began in the midwest with employment by the U.S. Geological Survey and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, surveying land from Canada to Mexico, working on a dredge improving the channel of the Mississippi River, and designing flood control structures. In "American Building" (University of Chicago Press), Mr. Tufte is credited with being engineer and co-designer in originating innovative use of wood in an auditorium in Jamestown, North Dakota in 1937, the "first large enclosure with roof framing of laminated timber." Later he designed underground structures for the Kansas City Power & Light Company.
During World War II, Mr. Tufte served as a member of the Shanghai Volunteer Corps in China to protect the International Settlement until residents were evacuated. He also served as an officer in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
After the war, Mr. Tufte worked in municipal engineering positions in Phoenix, Arizona, Covina, and Beverly Hills, California, supervised the design, construction, and operation of streets and public utilities. As a resident of Beverly Hills for 41 years, he served that city as City Engineer and Public Works Director from 1959 to 1976. In all three cities he initiated the concept of "mini-parks," persuading City Councils to buy small scattered parcels of land and transform them into beautifully landscaped public parks. While working in Beverly Hills, he taught courses at night in engineering administration for three years at the Graduate School of Public Administration, University of Southern California. He helped develop a program for mosquito abatement in Los Angeles County.
A member of ASCE since 1947, Mr. Tufte was a Fellow and Life Member. He served as Presient of the Arizona and California chapters of the American Public Works Association and as President of the City and County Engineers Association of Los Angeles. He was a member of Sigma Xi, honorary society and was an active member of the National Society of Professional Engieers.
Mr. Tufte is survived by his widow Virginia James Tufte and his son Edward Rolf Tufte.


ASCE Subject Headings:
Memoirs of deceased members