Professor Emeritus Richard “Dick” Bednar, who served the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering for 25 years, passed away August 7. He was 74.
Born March 9, 1944, he earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in electrical engineering and a PhD in mathematical systems theory, which provided the basis for the many contributions he would eventually make in his field of research. After working at the Naval Air Weapons Center (NAWS), Bednar was hired as a faculty member at Chico State in 1979 and became chair of the electrical engineering department soon thereafter.
He was methodical and thorough in fulfilling his responsibilities, recalled Professor Emeritus Roy Crosbie, who also served as chair of the then-Department of Computer Engineering. They shared a mutual interest and respect for their disciplines, and when their departments later merged, the two joined forces on a research project on developing high-speed simulation techniques of power electronic systems.
Bednar’s contributions to the research were “invaluable,” Crosbie said. He had received a technical director’s award from NAWS for leading a team working on analysis and simulation of radar signal processing, and he was the lead author in a conference paper on their research that received a best paper award.
Colleagues remember him as a prolific reader of technical material, and he often brought papers, books, and reports of interest to their attention. Bednar worked diligently on project problems that required meticulous attention to detail and presented thorough briefings to his project partners.
“He could always be found from early morning in his O’Connell office, always ready for a chat about the research and other issues,” Crosbie said. “He was an ever-present, positive influence on his colleagues and he will be very sadly missed.”
Even after he retired in 2004, Bednar remained active within the department, providing a key professional relationship to bring a major Office of Naval Research project to Chico State. In 2016, he, Crosbie, and professors Kurtis Kredo and John Zenor received a joint $1.8 million grant, with partners at Drexel University and the Naval Ship Systems Engineering Station in Philadelphia, for a three-year research project on distributed verification and validation methods for power system dynamics and control.
“Dick was a thorough and meticulous engineer who sought to answer only worthy questions in his research for the benefit of funding agencies and society as a whole,” Kredo said. “He would often share fruit he had grown or a cup of coffee with colleagues. We will all miss his contributions and presence.”
A memorial will be held at 11 a.m. Friday, August 31 at Brusie Funeral Home. The University flag will be lowered Tuesday, September 4, in Bednar’s honor.