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Dr. Harry W. Mergler

Dr. Harry W. Mergler

June 01, 1924 ‐ September 15, 2017

Chillicothe, Ohio
Resided In:
Westlake, Ohio
October 14, 2017 [ view details ]
October 14, 2017 [ view details ]
Sunset Memorial Park Cemetery [ view details ]

Dr. Harry Winston Mergler,age 93,died peacefullyat his home in Westlake, Ohio on September 15, 2017. Professor Mergler was born in Chillicothe, Ohio, son of teachers Harry Franklin Mergler and Letitia Walburn Mergler. He graduated from West Technical High School in Cleveland, Ohio in 1942 and received a full scholarship to M.I.T, where he enlisted in the Army Air Force Reserve. While at M.I.T., he entered the service as a licensed pilot, flew with a field artillery fire control squadron of the 75th Division, and ended the war as an engineer on a military research team at the Frankford Arsenal.

After the close of World War II, Professor Mergler finished his degrees at Case and took a position as an Aeronautical Research Scientist at NACA’s Lewis Flight Propulsion Laboratory, designing NACA’s first large scale analog computer facility. There, he also made the first documentedcoupling of a remote machine tool to a computer.  NACA subsequently sent himback to Case for a Ph.D., which he completed in 1956. 

In 1957 Professor Mergler joined the engineering faculty of Case Institute of Technology where he established the Digital Systems Laboratory.  Professor Mergler’s teaching and research specialty was digital logic design as applied to embedded control networks in machine-tool controls, aeronautical instrumentation, and industrial control processes.In 1973, he was named the Leonard Case Professor of Engineering where he served until his retirement in 1989. 

At Case, 141 M.S. and 52 Ph.D. students earned their degrees under Professor Mergler. His graduate students were or are on the faculties of MIT, Harvard, Georgia Tech, IIT, Cornell, New Jersey Institute of Technology, Rochester, Carnegie-Mellon, Michigan, Cal Tech, Texas Tech, University of California, University of Florida, Denmark’s Technical University, the Germany’s University of Karlsrühe, Sweden’s Chalmers Institute and the research staffs of Bell Labs (Alcatel-Lucent), IBM, Hewlett-Packard, and Agilent Technologies. Among his students are five who are presidents of high-technology corporations. 

Professor Mergler founded the Digital-General Corporation, a designer and manufacturer of digital diagnostic instrumentation. Its technology was acquired by Siemens in 1990.   Professor Mergler also served as a consultant to numerous Fortune 500 companies, including the Xerox and Gleason Corporations.  He was a consultant to the National Science Foundation, NASA, various foreign governments and a visiting scientist or professor at multiple foreign universities.  He was also a registered professional engineer and naval architect. 

Professor Mergler was elected a Fellow in the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers(IEEE) in 1976 and was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 1980. He was awarded the IEEE’s Lamme Medal in 1978, the Case Institute of Technology Gold Medal in 1979, the IEEE’s Centennial Medal in 1984 and the IEEE Third Millennium Medal in 2000. He received the Industrial Electronics Best Paper Award from the IEEE for the year 1979.  In 2006, the Eta Kappa Nu honor society of the 440,000 international members of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers awarded him the rank of Eminent Member“whose engineering career resulted in significant benefits to humankind.” Only 134 persons have been so honored worldwide in the past 67 years. 

Professor Mergler published more than 50 professional papers and the book Theoretical Methods for Digital Logic Network Design (Cornell).  He held 24 domestic and international patents, all of which have found active industrial applications, andhis biography may be found in American Men and Women of Science, among numerous other references. 

Professor Mergler was a past commodore and trustee of the Vermilion (Ohio) Yacht Club (berth of his ketch, Snow Goose), amember of the Westwood Country Club, the Rowfant Club, Tau Beta Pi, Zeta Psi, and a life-long member of Bethany English Lutheran Church (Cleveland, Ohio). 

In 1989 Professor Mergler and his wife of 48 years, Irmgard (née Steudel), moved to Ft. Myers, Florida following his retirement from Case Western Reserve University.He was widowed in 1994. Professor Mergler is survived by his three children: Myra A. L. Niemeier (Paul) of Reston, VA; Marcia M. Davis (Clark) of Stamford, CT; Harry F. Mergler of Rochester, NY; and three grandchildren: Katherine E. Davis, Andrew W. Davis and Nils P. Niemeier. 

Memorial Service: Bethany English Lutheran Church, 15460 Triskett Rd., Cleveland, OH at 11 AM on October 14, 2017.  Reception at 10 AM during the hour prior to the service.  In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Hospice of the Western Reserve, 17876 St. Claire Ave., Cleveland OH, 44110.