by Mark Wilcox
A visitation is scheduled tomorrow (March 3) for Professor Emeritus George Alger, who passed away Tuesday (Feb. 27), at Garden View Assisted Living in Calumet. He was 84.
He was born in Saginaw and attended Midland High School, graduating in 1952. He served in the US Army during the Korean Conflict and was honorably discharged with the rank of First Lieutenant.
Alger earned a bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering from what was then the Michigan School of Mining and Technology (now Michigan Technological University) in 1956. He received a master’s from South Dakota State and his PhD from Colorado State University.
Following four years as an associate professor at South Dakota State, he returned to Michigan Tech in 1968. Alger served as a tenured professor in the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department until his retirement in 2002.
Over the course of his more than 30 years at Tech, Alger pursued research in water resources, hydrology, sedimentation, erosion, snow and ice engineering, structures, dam design and mining.
Thoughout his career, he served as a consultant on these matters to several Federal agencies including the Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory, Army Corps of Engineers, US Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Great Lakes Basin Commission.
Whatever the subject, Alger loved teaching. His son Russell, project manager and research leader at Michigan Tech’s Keweenaw Research Center, said his father’s direct and to-the-point teaching style earned him the nickname “Easy-A Alger,” from his students.
“It wasn’t that he was easy at all,” Russ Alger says. “He just laid it all out there. He told you exactly what you needed to do to get an A in his class. If you did what he told you, you got an A. If you didn’t do it, then you didn’t get an A.”
In addition to teaching and consulting, Alger served for years on the faculty committee. “When he felt strongly about something he didn’t back down,” his son says. “He had a reputation among some faculty as being a bit obstinate, but it was that he stood by his beliefs.”
Alger is survived by his wife of 63 years, Elsmarie, sons Russ and Peter, daughter Christine, 10 grandchildren, 15 great-grand children and two great-great-grandchildren.
A visitation will take place from 10 a.m. to noon tomorrow (March 3) at the Erickson Crowley Peterson Funeral Home in Calumet.