Roald Haestad, 90, was a dedicated civil engineer
Roald "Ralph" Haestad, 90, died May 27 at home. He was the husband of Jean (Munson) Haestad for 61 years.
An engineer by training, he was chairman emeritus of Roald Haestad Inc., a Waterbury-based civil engineering firm, where he worked up until his death.
He was born in Kristiansand, Norway, where he was active in the Norwegian resistance during World War II. He was recognized by the British Admiralty for his service.
As a result of his distinguished war efforts, shortly after the war he was offered U.S. citizenship and a scholarship in the civil engineering program at City College of New York. Further prompted by Norway's post-war newly elected Labour Party, he left Norway to pursue his dreams. He met Jean Munson, the love of his life, soon after he arrived in America.
He became a principal at Malcolm Pirnie Engineers, where he was the lead project engineer for the construction of a host of large earthen embankment dams, including the Upper Shepaug Reservoir (Cairns Dam), Chamberlain Dam, Mill River and Trinity dams. During his life he personally managed all aspects of dam-related analysis and engineering for more than 200 dams throughout the region.
He founded Roald Haestad Inc. (RHI) in 1971, along with his wife. RHI successfully completed many significant public works engineering projects throughout New England.
He was a life member of the American Water Works Association and a member of many professional societies, including the National Society of Professional Engineers, the Connecticut Society of Civil Engineers, the International Society of Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering, the International Commission on Large Dams, the Canadian Dam Safety Association, the New England Water Works Association, the International Water Environment Federation, the American Concrete Institute, the American Society for Testing and Materials, the Society of American Military Engineers, the American Institute of Steel Construction, the American Public Works Association and the Association of State Flood Plain Management.
He was past president of the Connecticut Section of the National Society of Professional Engineers and a board member, and a recipient of the Fuller Award and the Benjamin Wright Award from the Connecticut sections of the American Water Works Association and the American Society of Civil Engineers, respectively.
He participated in many conferences and seminars worldwide, including those held by the U.S./International Committee on Large Dams in Austria, Switzerland, Denmark, Norway, Chile, San Francisco, Denver, Phoenix, Raleigh, N.C., and Chattanooga, Tenn.; Engineering Foundation seminars on dam safety in Henniker, N.H., and Monterey, Calif.; FEMA/CT DEP Southern New England Dam Safety conferences in Connecticut; the Association of State Dam Safety Officials' conferences in the Poconos in Pennsylvania; Austin, Texas; Jackson, Miss.; and Albuquerque, N.M.; and the Canadian Dam Safety Association conferences in British Columbia and Newfoundland, among others.
Work was his passion, second only to his love for his family. He enjoyed finding innovative solutions to complicated engineering challenges. He was known as an inspiring leader and mentor for many fellow engineers and had a strong work ethic.
In addition to his wife, he is survived by his children, Randi, Cynthia and John; six grandchildren, Kristi, Justin, Jace, Jaime, Jessie and Sara; four great-grandchildren, Maia, Logan, Samantha and Danielle; and his many clients and colleagues from more than six decades of service to the civil engineering profession.
The Munson-Lovetere Funeral Home in Woodbury was in charge of arrangements.