A century of notes, photos, mementos and personal journals reflecting the life of professor emeritus of agricultural engineering Robert Lorenzen has been captured in a biography recently completed by his wife, Margaret Brownell Lorenzen.
On March 13, at the annual Cornell Retirees Association (CRA) Spring Luncheon in the Ramada Inn, Brownell Lorenzen presented the Cornell Library with copies of "A Life to Remember: The Life of Robert Theodore Lorenzen" (Authors & Artists Publishers). Accepting two copies of the book on the library's behalf were Gregory Lawrence, life sciences bibliographer in Mann Library, and records management assistant Guy Smith, who accepted a copy on behalf of the Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections and University Archives.
Lorenzen taught for 23 years in what is now called the Department of Biological and Environmental Engineering before retiring from the faculty in 1982.
Comprised of a collection of memories written by many of Lorenzen's family, friends and colleagues throughout the years, the book recounts the lives of Lorenzen's parents, his birth in 1917 and his growing up on a farm in North Dakota. From the Great Depression years and twice receiving the Purple Heart in World War II to life with his first wife, Mary, and Lorenzen's distinguished academic career at Cornell, "A Life to Remember" concludes with Lorenzen's retirement and his current 14-year marriage to Brownell Lorenzen.
Brownell Lorenzen started working on the book more than four years ago to document and pay tribute to her husband's life. Among other endeavors, his work at Cornell included a connection to Cornell's potato research efforts. "Bob worked on the structural design of storage buildings for Cornell's (Uihlein) Potato Farm in Lake Placid," Brownell Lorenzen shared.
Lawrence thanked Lorenzen and his wife for the books and noted that the library is looking for other ways to collaborate with retired faculty. After the presentation, Smith commented, "Judging from Mrs. Lorenzen's remarks, the book was obviously a labor of love."
Approximately 125 retirees and guests attended the luncheon. They also had the opportunity to hear guest speaker Elmer Ewing, professor emeritus of horticulture, who started working with potatoes 50 years ago and was department chair for 14 years.
Kathee Shaff is the Cornell Retirees Association liaison, Division of Human Resources.