Burke Hayes


Courtesy of the

Corvallis Gazette-Times

Burke Hayes, who cofounded a Corvallis engineering firm that grew into an international powerhouse, died Friday of natural causes at his Lake Oswego home. He was 95.

In 1946, Hayes and fellow Oregon State University engineering graduates Jim Howland and Holly Cornell joined forces with their former professor, Fred Merryfield, to launch a consulting business that came to be known by their initials, CH2M.

The firm, which started out in a tiny second-floor office in downtown Corvallis, became CH2M Hill after a 1971 merger with a California company headed by another OSU alumnus, Clair A. Hill.

Building a reputation as a leader in water treatment technology, hazardous waste cleanup and industrial design, the company grew steadily, moving its headquarters from Corvallis to Denver in 1983.

Today CH2M Hill is one of the largest engineering firms in the world, with $5 billion in annual revenue and 23,000 employees in 31 countries. About 400 people work in the employee-owned firm's regional office in Corvallis.

A tireless tinkerer, Hayes developed a technology known as Flomatcher that used variable-speed motors to regulate flows in wastewater systems. It helped make CH2M's name in the industry and was so successful it became the basis for a spinoff company that's still in operation.

'He was kind of our inventor founder,' said Elizabeth French, a CH2M Hill vice president and area manager based in Corvallis.

Although he retired in 1977 and eventually moved to the Portland area, French said, Hayes maintained his ties with the company he helped create and often attended the annual 'longevity celebration' for veteran employees in Corvallis. The last one he attended was in 2006, when he collected a 60-year bar to add to his company service plaque.

In a statement distributed to CH2M Hill employees, the firm's last surviving founder, Jim Howland, 95, remembered his longtime friend and partner.

'Burke had a great ability to make complex things understandable to non-technical people,' he said. 'He was highly ethical and had an outstanding ability to think outside the box long before it was so widely regarded as a valuable talent.'

Hayes was born Aug. 25, 1912, in Pendleton to Frank and Gay Hayes. He graduated from OSU in 1938 with a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering and later earned a master's degree in the subject from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

He served in the Navy during World War II and taught at both MIT and OSU.

He was a fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers.

A longtime member of the Oregon State University Foundation board, he received an OSU Distinguished Service Award in 1986 and the university's E.B. Lemon Alumni Award in 2004.

Hayes is survived by a son, Richard Reynolds Hayes of Acworth, Ga.; a daughter, Gail Hayes Davis of Portland; and nine grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his wife, Lenore 'Billie' Hayes, and a son, Thomas B. Hayes Jr., whose widow, Sharon Hayes, lives in West Linn.

A memorial service will be held at 4 p.m. Jan. 4 at OSU's CH2M Hill Alumni Center, 875 S.W. 26th St. A private burial in Oaklawn Cemetery is planned. Mount Scott Funeral Home of Portland is in charge of arrangements.

Copyright Corvallis Gazette-Times. Reprinted by permission.

Mary Kramer

Mary Deming Kramer died Dec. 11, 2007 at the age of 84.

Mrs. Kramer was born Aug. 18, 1923, in Maplewood, N.J.

She married Fritz L. Kramer in 1949. During her professional career she worked as a medical technologist for various medical offices. She had been a homemaker since 1965.

She was member of Tualatin Riverkeepers and the Lake Oswego Adult Community Center.

Survivors include her husband Fritz Kramer, daughters Gretl Kramer and Anne Kramer, son Richard Kramer, two grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.

No service is planned at this time.

Remembrances may be sent to Tualatin Riverkeepers, 12360 S. W. Main St., Tigard, Ore., 97223 or to the Lake Oswego Adult Community Center, 505 G Ave., Lake Oswego, Ore., 97034.

Mary Kobiata

Mary (Schmidt) Kobiata died Dec. 13, 2007. She was 47.

Mrs. Kobiata was born on Feb. 11, 1959 in Bremerton, Wash. She graduated from Jefferson High in 1977 in Portland.

Mrs. Kobiata was employed at Administrators Northwest, Inc. in Lake Oswego.

Survivors include her mother Rose Schmidt, sisters Margie Reinholt, Judy Schmidt, Ruthie Johnston and Lolly Williams and her brother Ken McDowell.

A Reading of the Rosary was held Dec. 13 at Young's Funeral Home.

Remembrances may be made to the Make A Wish Foundation.

Evelyn Miles

Evelyn Menz Miles died Dec. 17, 2007. She was 89.

Mrs. Miles was born Oct. 23, 1918, in Perham, Minn.

She moved to Oregon in the early 1940s.

She married John Miles in 1950; he preceded her in death in 2000.

Survivors include her son Ron Miles, daughters Donna Miles and Karen Miles, her brother Jerry Menz and sisters Florence Euken and Berry Perkins.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be held Friday at 9:30 a.m. at Our Lady of the Lake Catholic Church in Lake Oswego.

Remembrances may be sent to the American Cancer Society.

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