2024 Investiture Information

All Thayer News

In Memoriam: Henry W. Parker '46 Th'47

May 06, 2024

Henry W. Parker '46 Th'47

— 1924-2023 —

Professor put Stanford engineering program on the map

Henry “Hank” W. Parker ’46 Th’47, Stanford professor emeritus of civil and environmental engineering, died in Hanover on July 7, 2023, at age 99. A master of logistics and planning of large-scale highway and dam construction projects, he was recruited to the Stanford Construction Engineering and Management Program to provide graduate education for the thousands of engineers then completing the interstate highway system and the many dam projects dotting the arid Western states.

Elected a fellow of the American Society of Civil Engineers, Parker’s courses covered everything from estimating concrete mix and form design to construction, surveying, human factors, and work improvement. His best-known contribution to construction theory and practice was the 1988 book, Productivity Improvement in Construction, which continues to provide many relevant concepts and methods.

“Hank put the Stanford construction program on the map globally, both in academia and in industry,” says Martin Fischer, Stanford professor of civil and environmental engineering. He had “boundless passion for the built environment and those who create it. He undoubtedly made construction safer, of higher quality, and more productive.”

At Dartmouth, Parker was active in the Outing Club, Glee Club, Cabin & Trail, and Theta Delta Chi and competed in football and cross country. He graduated early, Phi Beta Kappa with a bachelor’s in engineering sciences, as part of the Navy V-12 program and served in the Marines during World War II before completing his MS at Thayer. Prior to his lengthy Stanford tenure, Parker worked for Winston Brothers Construction Co. of Minneapolis and served in the Korean War from 1950 to 1952. After early retirement in 1982, Parker continued to teach full time for several years until he and his wife, Polly, returned to Hanover, where he was active in the Dartmouth Society of Engineers.

Parker was predeceased by Polly, his wife of 69 years; he is survived by children Martha, David, Jeffrey, and Judith; grandchildren Ross, Whit, Annie, Ellie, and Will; and two great-grandchildren.

For contacts and other media information visit our Media Resources page.