Richard Ernest Tressler, 65, of Oak Hall, died Saturday, Sept. 8, 2007, surrounded by family at the Mount Nittany Medical Center. He died of ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease). Born on June 14, 1942, in Bellefonte, he was a son of Ernestine and the late Earl Tressler, of Bellefonte. He is survived by his wife, Janis Jones, and three daughters and their families, Laura Sweeny and her husband Robert, of Indiana, Pennsylvania, and their children Owen and Francie; Kristin Reagle and her husband Daniel, of Media, and their daughter Megan; and Jennifer Hendrickson and her husband Michael, of State College, and their children Ada and Sally. He is also survived by stepson David Mochak and wife Natalie, and their son Devin; two brothers, Hubert of Green Bay, Wis., and Kermit of Bellefonte. He was preceded in death by his late wife, Sue Alexander Tressler and his brother Earl of Muncy. He was a 1959 graduate of Bellefonte Area High School. He earned his B.S. degree in Ceramic Technology from Penn State in 1963, his M.S. at MIT in 1964, and his Ph.D. in Ceramic Science at Penn State in 1967.
He was a decorated veteran, serving as a Captain in the United States Air Force, then joined the Ceramics faculty at Penn State in 1972. He served as Head of the Department of Materials Science and Engineering for 10 years, was President of the American Ceramic Society, and Founding Director of the Center for Advanced Materials at Penn State. He also served on the technical advisory boards of Kyocera, Air Products, and Alcoa, as well as the Board of Directors of AVX Corporation. In recognition of his accomplishments he was named Academician of the World Academy of Ceramics, Honorary Member of the Societe Francaise de Metallurgie et de Materiaux, the International Prize of the Japan Fine Ceramics Association, and was named Distinguished Life Member of the American Ceramic Society, and received the Hosler Alumni Scholar Award of the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences. He retired as Professor Emeritus of Materials Science and Engineering in 2001. He made a significant contribution to the field of Materials Science by being an outstanding mentor to his students. In addition to enjoying time on his farm with his family and particularly his grandchildren, he was an avid hunter and fly fisherman. He loved to garden, chop wood, and drive his tractor. His hobbies included restoring old homes and antique automobiles. He was a lover of music and played the flute and bass.
He was a lifelong supporter of Penn State and dedicated himself to philanthropic efforts on behalf of the University. He will be remembered for his quick wit and sense of humor. He was a member of St. Paul’s United Methodist Church, a life member of the Penn State Alumni Association, and a member of the Obelisk Society of the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences at Penn State. The family encourages donations in his memory to The Richard E. Tressler Career Development Professorship in Materials Science and Engineering, The Pennsylvania State University, 121 Steidle Building, University Park, PA 16802.