Ira Alexander† Photo
Alexander, popular ACSM and ASCE member, well known survey authority and
premier geodesist in the western states died January 28th, 2002 at
the USC Norris Cancer Hospital in Los Angeles.† He was 80 years old.
He was teacher and mentor to a legion of professionals now in
high/responsible positions throughout the country.
Ira was born in Staten Island, New York but moved to California as a
child and attended L.A. High School, UCLA and Cal Berkeley where he graduated
in 1940.† His early engineering/survey
work was on the Alcan Hiway when it was pushed through the Yukon and Alaska
wilderness in record time at the beginning of W.W.II. †He later served in the infantry during the
Italian Campaign and after the war was sent by the Army to Christ College at
Oxford for special graduate work.
Following his discharge and jobs timber cruising/surveying he began
work with the Office of the L.A. County Engineer and Surveyor where he rose
through the ranks to be chief of survey operations and eventually Assistant
Chief Deputy of the Department from which he retired after some 30 plus
Along the way he became a consummate expert in surveying, boundary
analysis, cadastral mapping, geodesy, precise control, description writing
and deed interpretation with many publications.† These were not only in geophysical and survey/mapping research,
but also ran the gambit from earthquake and traffic engineering to tide and
submerge lands. During his County time and after his retirement from the
County he did expert witnessing and consulting both as an individual and
working for several prestigious engineering firms.
He also taught classes and/or lectured at UCLA, USC, Oregon State,
University of Arizona, and Fresno State in the many disciplines described
above.† He also traveled extensively
with the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) checking
on, and certifying the surveying and engineering curricula, technical
libraries, faculty, etc. for ABETís approval at colleges throughout the
country.† However, he is perhaps best
known for his Review Course for the Professional Land-Surveying Examination
through which so many of his students were able to get their professional
Ira along with his son, also compiled the Projection Tables for the
California Coordinate System NAD 83 as a Special Publication of the
California Land Surveyors Association.
He was also active in, and contributed to, many technical/professional
organizations.† He was a Fellow in the
ASCE and a member of its Committee on Geodetic Surveying and its Task
Committee on the Preparation of a Manual of Control Surveys.† He was Program Chairman for the Surveying
and Mapping Division at the National Water Resources meeting in Los Angeles
and Vice Chairman of the Surveying and Mapping Technical Group, Los Angeles
He was also National President of the American Congress on Surveying
and Mapping and was chairman of its Control Surveys Division.† He also served many years as a National
Director and was made honorary member by the Southern California Section.
He was also a member of the American Geophysical Union, Canadian
Institute of Surveying, California Council of Civil Engineers and Land
Surveyors, and City County Engineers Association.
His many friends and associates, especially those heís helped over the
years with his generous advice and encouragement, will surely miss him. He is
survived by his wife Myrna, his daughter and son, Elaine and Lee, grandson
Ricky, and brothers Robert and Eugene.
There was no memorial service.†
Itís the way he wanted it.† His
family asks that those who wish, donate to cancer research in his name.
Among other honors, he was THE geodesy expert in the western states,
retired Asst. L.A. Co. Engineer and ex president of the American Congress of
Surveying and Mapping.† He was still
active consulting, court witnessing and teaching (UCLA and Fresno State) as
well serving on ABET, certifying the curricula of colleges of engineering at
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