Alan Pense Obituary (1934 – 2022) – Bethlehem, PA

Alan W. Pense went home to be with his Lord and Savior on May 11, 2022. Alan was born on February 3, 1934, in Sharon, CT. His parents were Arthur Wilton Pense and May Wiggins Pense. He lived in upstate NY, in Wassaic through elementary school and in Utica through junior high school. He moved to the suburbs of Albany for his high school years and was living in Delmar at the time of his graduation from Bethlehem Central High School. He attended Cornell University, where he met his future wife, Muriel Taylor. He graduated in 1957 with a Bachelor of Metallurgical Engineering and completed his Masters of Science in Metallurgical Engineering at Lehigh University in 1959. Alan and Muriel married in 1958 and Alan finished his PhD in Metallurgical Engineering in 1962. He stayed on as a faculty member at Lehigh, starting as an assistant professor. He was promoted to associate professor in 1965 and professor in 1971. He became chairman of the department of Material Science and Engineering in 1977.

Alan received numerous teaching awards, including the Student Council Teaching Award (1966); the Stabler Teaching Award (1972); and the College Service Teaching Award (1984). He is the author or co-author of over 100 articles on metallurgical research, specializing in welding. He is the co-author of the textbook Structure and Properties of Metals. He was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 1993. He was also a member of the American Society of Metals, the American Welding Society, and the International Institute of Welding.

He enjoyed many trips overseas to countries in Europe where he presented his research on welding materials for bridges. He also took part in a US delegation to Russia during the Cold War. Alan was invited to be on the founding commission for the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, and from 1989-1994 he served on the external Engineering Advisory Committee for HKUST.

In 1985 Alan was appointed Associate Dean of the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences, and in 1989 he was appointed Dean. He helped to create the ATLSS Center, the Center for Advanced Technology for Large Structural Systems, in 1986. He became Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs in 1990 and retired in 1998. He continued his consulting career for 20 more years, working on failures in bridges and other large structures. The Lehigh community greatly appreciated his creative sense of humor as well as his technical expertise.

Alan and Muriel were co-directors of the Bethlehem International Conference through the 1970s and 1980s, inviting students from around the world to stay with local families, to explore the Christmas City, and to connect their faith and their studies during their time in the US .

Alan was a long-time member of Emmanuel Evangelical Congregational Church. He enjoyed engaging learners of all ages in Sunday School. He served as Chairman of the Board of Evangelical Seminary in Myerstown, PA, and he served on the Board of the Lehigh Valley Christian High School. He was an active contributor to the David A. Dorsey Museum of Biblical Archeology and was an enthusiastic teacher and learner of Biblical history.

Alan died at Kirkland Village in Bethlehem, PA. He is survived by his wife, Muriel Taylor Pense; his sister Cynthia Bandfield and his brother Ronald Pense; his children, Rev. Daniel Pense and his wife Joan Pense, the Rev. Steven Pense and his wife Dorothy Pense, and Dr. Christine Pense; and his four grandchildren, Hannah Pense, Joshua Pense, Jonathan Pense and Benjamin Pense.

Visiting hours will be held on Friday, March 20th from 6:00-8:00 PM at Cantelmi-Long Funeral Home. A service of celebration will be held on Saturday, May 21st at Emmanuel Evangelical Congregational Church, 75 East Union Boulevard, in Bethlehem. Visitation begins at 10 am and the service will be at 11:00 AM. A graveside service will follow at Nisky Hill Cemetery.

Published by Morning Call on May 15, 2022.

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