James Douglas Dale


James Douglas Dale

December 5, 1939- November 16, 2020

Lovingly remembered by Lynn, his wife of 53 years, daughter Erin (Greg), son Mac (Jeanette), twins Ashley and Martin , and a large family of friends and relatives worldwide.

Doug was born and grew up in Edmonton. He attended Victoria Composite High School where he and friends formed the Sultans ?Car Club racing their hot rod to a middle eliminator championship.

He attended the University of Alberta, studying Mechanical Engineering. He graduated with a B.Sc. in 1961 and an M.Sc. in 1963. After two years of experience in industry, he and Lynn moved to Seattle where he earned a Ph.D at the University of Washington.

In September of 1969, Doug was hired as Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Alberta, lecturing in the area of Thermodynamics. He twice served as Department chair and was twice recognized by the Faculty of Engineering student-staff committee for excellence in Undergraduate Teaching. He was a Fellow of Engineers Canada, the American Society of Testing and Materials , the Canadian Automotive Engineers and an honorary Fellow of Geoscientists Canada. He retired in 2003.

Doug’s research had far reaching implications. As a participant in the Alberta Home Heating Project, Doug and his colleague Mark Ackerman studied heat loss through the walls and floor of basements. This research brought changes to building codes in both Canada and the United States with savings estimated at $1 billion dollars each year.

In other research, Doug and a colleague from Electrical Engineering pioneered the use of lasers to start Diesel engines in an effort to make them less polluting. This research continues today at Universities in Austria and Japan.

An invitation from Betty Crown in Human Ecology to Doug to design a test to evaluate the flammability of garments became his focus. He and colleagues developed a system for evaluating the ability of clothing to block heat with applications for workers in oil and gas, petroleum and chemical industries, wild land firefighting and some military applications. His testing laboratory was the only one in North America not owned by industry. This system took Doug and Betty to many places around the world as they represented Canada helping to set North America and European industry standards.

Doug found life balance with friends, family and physical activity. He played squash and racket ball, ran through the river valley with a running group or occasionally with his daughter and her black lab.

He happily attended the Edmonton INDY Car races with his son and his friends. He curled, drag raced, sailed at the cabin, travelled and spent many a happy hour maintaining his 1934 Chev coupe “Stovebolt” that Lynn and Doug had taken on their honeymoon in 1963.

The family will hold a “ Celebration of Life” for Doug at a later date. In lieu of flowers, the family prefers donations be made to the J. Douglas Dale Award in Mechanical Engineering.

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