New York — The managing principals, partners and staff of Thornton Tomasetti mourn the loss of Gary Curtis Hart, 73, a former principal emeritus with the international engineering firm, who passed away at his home in Marina del Rey, Calif. on October 21, 2017.
Gary was born in San Bernardino, Calif. He received a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from the University of Southern California (USC) in 1965, where he was also honored with the ASCE Los Angeles Section Award for Outstanding Civil Engineering Graduate. He earned master’s and doctoral degrees in structural engineering from Stanford University in 1966 and 1968, respectively.
Gary began his illustrious career in 1968 as a civil engineering assistant professor at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). Throughout his tenure at UCLA, Gary also had a parallel career as a consulting engineer.
He started his own consulting business, Hart Consultant Group, in 1992, which he sold to Weidlinger Associates Inc. in 2001. At Weidlinger he served as a principal and director until 2015. He joined Thornton Tomasetti through its merger with Weidlinger in 2015, where he functioned as principal Emeritus.
Gary specialized in building investigation and forensic engineering, performance-based design and structural analysis of buildings. He performed structural and seismic evaluations for a number of government, public and educational buildings. During his career, Gary was a sought-after expert who testified in many proceedings.
“You could talk about Gary’s immense influence on the development safe ways to build in seismically active regions throughout the world, and the generation of structural engineers whom he educated,” said Raymond Daddazio, president of Thornton Tomasetti. “I will remember him as a gentle and loyal man whose enthusiasm and thirst for knowledge and desire to share that knowledge never ended. He will be missed.”
Gary was founding president of the Los Angeles Tall Buildings Structural Design Council and founding editor of “The Structural Design of Tall and Special Buildings” journal.
During his career, Gary received many prestigious awards and professional acclaim for his work. He received two of American Society of Civil Engineers’ (ASCE) most prestigious national awards, the Walter L. Huber Award in 1981 and the Ernest E. Howard Award in 1993. In 2010, he was granted “Life Member” status by the Los Angeles Chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). Upon receiving the honor, he said, “In 1965, I received an ASCE Scholarship, which enabled me to go on to obtain my master’s degree at Stanford. Without ASCE’s support, I never would have been able to go to graduate school.”
He also received the S.B. Barnes Award from the Structural Engineers Association of Southern California in 1992 for “the application of structural engineering creativity relating to structural design.”
Gary authored two books, “Uncertainty Analysis, Loads and Safety” (1982) and “Structural Dynamics for Structural Engineers” (2000). He also co-wrote the books “Design of Masonry Structures” (1993, 1995, 1997, 2008 Editions) and “Design of Reinforced Masonry” (1982). During his career, Gary authored or co-authored more than 200 technical publications.
Said Thomas Z. Scarangello, chairman and CEO of Thornton Tomasetti, “While I knew Gary as an engineer and industry icon, it was only during the years following the merger that I was able to get to know him on a more personal level. His genuine passion and humanity shined through whenever I met or spoke with him. While Gary’s contributions to our profession will undoubtedly live on, I came to see that his greatest legacy may be his embodiment of what true mentorship looks like.”
Gary is survived by his wife of 36 years, Marianne McDermott Hart and his daughter, Kristine and her family who live in North Carolina. The family held a private cremation and a memorial service tribute is being arranged for January 2018.