In Memoriam: Sydney Kelsey, professor emeritus of civil engineering

by Michael O. Garvey

In Memoriam

Sydney Kelsey, professor emeritus of civil engineering at the University of Notre Dame, died Sunday (Jan. 23) in Our Lady of Peace Rehab Center in Mishawaka. He was 85 years old.

A native of Yorkshire, England, and a 1946 graduate of the University of Leeds, Kelsey taught at Imperial College in London before joining Notre Dame’s civil engineering faculty in 1967.

Remembered as much with affection as respect by generations of Notre Dame engineering students and faculty, Kelsey received the College of Engineering Outstanding Teacher Award in 1978 and has been honored for several years by its Sydney Kelsey Outstanding Scholar Award, which is given annually to a senior civil engineering student for excellence and creativity in academics. He was coauthor, with J.H. Argyris, of “Energy Theorems and Structural Analysis.”

In addition to his teaching and research, Kelsey was an enthusiastic, accomplished and generous gardener.

“Sid was the consummate professor, not only in his field of engineering, but in life. He was a special person in so many ways. Above all, he loved sharing,” said Stephen E. Silliman, professor and associate chair of civil engineering and geological sciences at Notre Dame, “whether that was a kind word to someone in the hallway, a technical analysis with a student or colleague, or vegetables from his very productive gardens.

“Sid always smiled, always had kind words to say, and always expressed his love for life through his smile, his words, and his attention to each individual. He will be missed by all who knew him.”
Kelsey is survived by his wife, Ernestine; his daughter, Sharmon; his granddaughters,

Mary, Christina, Jennie and Monica; his great-granddaughter, Regan; his sister, Dorothy; and several nieces and nephews in Scotland, England and Canada. Sydney grew up in England (Yorkshire).

The family has asked that memorial contributions be made to the Center for Hospice and Palliative Care, Inc.; 111 Sunnybrook Court; South Bend, IN 46637.