PCI Foundation Honors Charles Raths
Updated: May 8
Long time PCI Professional member Charles Raths passed away on April 19th in Nashville, Tennessee. Charles' technical contributions to PCI were extensive during his long association with the industry from the early 1960s and as a founder of Raths, Raths & Johnson until his retirement from the firm in 1995. His technical contributions included serving on the PCI Technical Committees, publishing nine technical papers in the PCI Journal -- including winning the Martin P. Korn Award in 1967 and 1984. He also was key reviewer of submitted technical papers for many years. George Nasser, Editor Emeritus, appreciated Mr. Raths' technical contributions to the Journal and their close relationship. Mr. Raths published 25 technical papers and articles over 40 years.
Preceded in death by parents Herbert and Marion and sister Martha; survived by wife Eleanor Loveland Raths; children Holly (Kyle Hart), Ruth (Peter Meijer), Linda (Peter Stark) and Jack (Bella); grandchildren Anne, Henry, Marika, Valora, and Benjamin; brothers Donald and Herbert.
Born August 3, 1934 in Zanesville, OH, Chuck graduated from East Aurora High School (NY) in 1952. From 1955-57, he served in the U.S. Army as part of the occupation based in Viernheim, Germany. He earned a BS degree in 1959 from Michigan State University in civil engineering and an MS degree in 1960 also in civil engineering from MSU. After work in design and research with various structural engineering firms, he founded his own company in 1966, which led to the addition of partners, Donald Raths and Robert Johnson, to become the widely respected firm of Raths, Raths & Johnson, Inc. (rrj.com).
Kurt Hoigard, current president of Raths, Raths & Johnson, Inc., states “Chuck was not only the founder, he was a mentor to me and so many others. I was fortunate to work under Chuck for many years and witness his ability to lead and provide the vision that helped to shape and transform RR+J into a leading forensic engineering and architectural firm.”
Chuck’s family will likewise remember him for his ambition, keen sense of fairness, and high regard for acting independently and responsibly. He will be missed by many, especially his family and devoted wife, Ellie.
He served on the PCI Board of Directors from 1971 - 1973 and also received the PCI Medallion Award in 1970 for "Outstanding Engineering Contributions." He was a frequent speaker at PCI seminars, especially during the publication of the first PCI Design Handbook in 1971. He was a major contributor and author of Chapter 9, Connections, in the 1971 PCI Design Handbook. Charles also served on many Technical Committees in the 70s and 80s.
His research on "Concrete Corbels" at Portland Cement Association from 1961 - 1964 established the Behavior and Design of Precast Concrete Corbels (PCA publication 1964) and was published in the PCI Journal in 1965 (Strength of Corbels - February 1965). The design and detailing of corbels in the first edition of the Design Handbook in 1971 is basically unchanged in the latest 2016 8th edition of the Handbook.
His professional experience upon graduating from Michigan State University is a masters degree in civil engineering prior to the founding of his consulting engineering firm in the 1960s included research on the precast concrete corbels at the Portland Cement Association (pictured above) in Skokie, IL, and a chief engineer of Crest Schobeton in Lemont, IL. The main focus of his firm was precast/prestressed concrete during the 1960s and 70s, including consulting, design and preparation of erection and shop drawings. Significant technical contributions by the firm in the 1960s were his paper "Production and Design of Architectural Precast Concrete" in the PCI Journal (June 1967, Volume 12) which won the Martin P. Korn Award that year and the Robert Johnson's Paper "Effective Shop Drawing Communications for Precast Concrete (February 1969, Volume 14).
Mr. Raths' family has asked the PCI Foundation to create a memorial fund in his honor. contributors may follow this link and designate the contribution in his honor or send a check to the PCI Foundation with Charles Raths Memorial noted. PCI Foundation, c/o Manietta Associates, 1770 N. Park Street, #103 Naperville IL 60563.