John R. Lindbeck
March 11, 2009
Dr. John R. Lindbeck, a longtime engineering professor at Western Michigan University who was involved in building a replica of the University's historic trolley, died March 2 in Kalamazoo. He was 80.
Lindbeck served on the WMU faculty for 34 years, retiring as professor of engineering technology with emeritus status in April 1991. He was a frequent visitor in WMU engineering labs after his retirement until recent years.
In 2003, Lindbeck helped and advised a senior project team involved in building a full-scale replica of a trolley from the Western State Normal Railroad, which operated on the University's East campus from 1908 to 1949. It was placed on display that August in front of the Bernhard Center as part of events marking WMU's bicentennial.
Lindbeck was born in Ely, Minn., and joined the Air Force. He was recalled by the U.S. Corps of Engineers during the Korean War.
He completed his education at the University of Minnesota, receiving his doctoral degree in industrial education in 1958. He and his wife, Marilyn, moved to Kalamazoo, where he began his teaching career at WMU in 1957.
Lindbeck had a noteworthy teaching career, developing and teaching courses in basic manufacturing technology and design for manufacturing. He was the author of many papers and textbooks in his field. He was very involved in education for metric conversion and the recipient of the Distinguished Service Award from the National Metric Council.
Lindbeck was a visiting lecturer at many institutions, most notably serving a year teaching at the University of London's Goldsmith College from 1967-68.
Active in the community, Lindbeck volunteered with the AirZoo, Friends of Kalamazoo Pubic Library, the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts and other organizations.
A memorial service is at 2 p.m. Saturday, March 14 at First Presbyterian Church in Kalamazoo.
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