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In Memory

James A. Maple

James A. Maple
Apr. 22, 1937 - Aug. 13, 2001

JAMES A. MAPLE, 64, Ph.D. P.E., of Baytown, Texas, died on Monday, August 13, 2001, after a courageous battle with a chronic illness. Jim was born in Rushville, Indiana on April 22, 1937, the oldest of seven children of Kenneth and Nellie Maple. He graduated from Hayden High School in Hayden, Indiana in 1955. He received a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering from Purdue University in 1960. He received a Master of Science degree in Civil Engineering from Purdue University in 1965. He also earned a Ph.D. in Civil Engineering from Purdue University in 1969. Jim was a registered Professional Engineer in Alaska, Texas and Indiana.

He married Betty Allman, daughter of Clarence and Emma Allman, on February 16, 1963 in Hayden, Indiana. Jim was a member of Hayden Baptist Church. Jim began his engineering career in 1969 at Exxon's Baytown Refinery. His Exxon career also included assignments at Florham Park, New Jersey, and Anchorage, Alaska. While at Exxon, he developed engineering designs for pipelines and refinery facilities.

Jim was a major contributor to the engineering design of the 800-mile long Trans-Alaska Pipeline. He pioneered the use of sophisticated engineering analysis methodology for the Alaska Pipeline, and the concepts and approaches that he employed and tested have been used on many occasions by other engineers on arctic pipelines throughout North America and overseas. He received three patents for his development of innovative support systems that enabled the Alaska Pipeline to cross unstable permafrost zones. Owing to his vast arctic experience, Jim served as a consultant for a number of North Slope (Alaska) pipeline projects, engineering feasibility studies of a proposed Alaska natural gas pipeline, and several Russian pipeline projects. He took early retirement from Exxon in 1992 and has since operated his own independent consulting engineering practice, J. A. Maple & Associates, specializing in pipeline design. In the years since his retirement from Exxon,

Jim also worked on a part-time basis with GDS Engineers of Baytown. Jim was widely recognized by his peers as an authority in arctic pipeline design. He mentored many young engineers throughout his career. He authored numerous professional papers and reports and served on several technical committees aimed at improving the safety of petrochemical facilities and pipelines. He was honored as Engineer of the Year in 1990 by the Baytown Chapter of the Texas Society of Professional Engineers. In recognition of his contribution to the engineering of arctic pipelines, Jim was selected to receive the prestigious Harold R. Peyton Award for Cold Regions Engineering, which will be awarded at the American Society of Civil Engineers National Convention to be held in Houston in October 2001. His academic and professional associations included: Tau Beta Pi Honor Society, Chi Epsilon Honor Society, Sigma Chi Research Society, the American Society of Civil Engineers, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, the Structural Engineers Association of Texas, the American Society for Metals, the Indiana Academy of Science, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the National Society of Professional Engineers, the American Concrete Institute, the International Society of Offshore and Polar Engineers, and the Mineralogical Society of America. He was also a member of the advisory council for the School of Civil Engineering at Purdue University.

Jim served on active duty with the U.S. Navy Civil Engineering Corps and in the U.S. Naval Reserve, retiring in 1992 with the rank of Commander. He was a member of the Naval Reserve Association and the Reserve Officers Association. Jim was also an active member of his community. Because of his strong interest in education, Jim volunteered as a math tutor, science and history fair judge, and instructor with Project Business in the Baytown school district. He served as a member of both the GATE Advisory Board and the Chinquapin School Advisory Board.

In addition, Jim was elected to the Board of Trustees for the Goose Creek Consolidated Independent School District. Jim and his wife Betty have encouraged a nephew and niece to move to Baytown to begin their teaching careers in Baytown area schools. Steve Koester, nephew, is now an Assistant Principle at Baytown Jr. School, and his wife Sandy teaches first grade at Barbers Hill. Jenny Maple, niece, teaches kindergarten at Pumphrey Elementary.Jim also served on the Board of Directors for both the Baytown YMCA and the Baytown Alcohol and Drug Commission. He was a member of the Boy Scouts of America in his youth, and later served as a Scout Master and on the Harris County District Scout Committee. He was a member of the Baytown Chamber of Commerce, the Baytown Camera Club, and the Houston Gem and Mineral Society. His hobbies included gem and mineral collecting, photography, cooking and baking, traveling, collecting antiques, camping, and spelunking.

Jim will be fondly remembered by all who knew him as a great man: brother, husband, father, grandfather, and friend. He is survived by his wife Betty; daughter Melissa Eitel and her husband Jeffrey of Pearland, and daughter Maura Maple of Baytown; and six month old grandson Andrew James Eitel - the light of Jim's life. He also is survived by sisters Louise Cummings of La Porte, Indiana, June Schubert of Austin, Texas, and Mary Maple of Louisville, Kentucky; and brothers David of Columbus, Indiana, Mike of Louisville, Kentucky, and Steve of Indianapolis, Indiana. He was preceded in death by his parents.

The family received friends on Wednesday, August 15, 2001, at the funeral home. Rev. Jerry Thomas, M. Div., of VITAS Hospice officiated at the funeral service conducted on Thursday, August 16, 2001, at Navarre Funeral Home, 2444 Rollingbrook Drive, Baytown. Interment followed at White Cemetery in Highlands. Pallbearers were son-in-law, Jeffrey Eitel of Pearland, TX; brothers, Mike Maple of Louisville, KY and Steve Maple of Indianapolis, IN; brothers-in-law, Bruce Cummings of La Porte, IN, Karl Schubert of Austin, TX, and Ron Shaw of Louisville, KY; and nephews, Matt Maple of West Lafayette, IN, and Steve Koester of Baytown, TX. Honorary pallbearers were the many friends who knew, respected, admired, loved, and cherished Jim. The graveside service included a flag ceremony and the playing of taps by representatives of the U. S. Navy in Jim's honor.

The family suggests that memorial contributions be made to either the Platelet Disorder Support Association, P.O. Box 61533, Potomac, MD 20859, or the Bevan B. Lewis Civil Engineering Scholarship Fund (established by Jim in honor of Dr. Lewis), Purdue Foundation, 1800 Purdue Memorial Union, West Lafayette, Indiana 47907

From: James A Maple Obit on August 21, 2001 

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06/22/14 07:20 PM #1    

Larry Motschenbacher

James A. Maple MemorialThis is James A. Maple Memorial at the Trans Alaska Pipeline Visitor Center in Fox, Alaska (just north of Fairbanks).

James A. Maple 
P.E. Arctic Pipeline Pioneer 
1937 - 2001

Dr. Maple was a structural engineer and principal designer of the trans-Alaska pipeline.  He holds three patents for his development of innovative pipe supports that enabled the warm oil pipeline to safely traverse areas of permafrost.  He pioneered the use of sophisticated structural analysis for pipelines, now used on arctic pipelines worldwide.  A graduate of Purdue University, he was a major contributor not only during design and construction but also continued to provide engineering expertise for the pipeline until his death in 2001.

In recognition of his contributions to the engineering of arctic pipelines, Dr. Maple was awarded the prestigious Harold R. Peyton Award for Cold Regions Engineering by the American Society of Civil Engineers in 2001.  The award was named by Dr. Peyton, another key pipeline designer, who unfortunately died just before the pipeline was commissioned in 1977.

Dedicated August 1, 2002 in commemoration of the 25th anniversary of the opening of the trans-Alaska Pipeline. 

01/31/15 09:46 AM #2    

Elden Johnson

Jim was a dear friend of mine.  I was assigned to his group in Houston,TX, 1973 as a young engineer just out of school.  He was a great engineer, supervisor, and mentor.  Always had a Navy crew cut.  During pipeline construction, as a field engineer, I would call him often for advice.  He of course was very buisy and sometimes would not get back to me right away.  One time, I left a message (with my number) that it was Frank Moolin calling.  He got back with me very quickly, but told me never to do that again.  Sadly, I was in Houston in 2001, just before he died, and visited him in the hospital.  A great loss, personally and professionally.


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