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Engineering prof was green before it became trendy

Art Krill was a natural leader who helped build DU’s Denver Research Institute mechanics division in recognition and stature, remembers research Professor Robert Amme.

“I remember him as a very pleasant man of high character who helped bring distinction to the institute,” Amme says.

Krill, who spent a lifetime researching everything from aircraft engines to refrigeration and solar energy, died Jan. 9 after a long illness. He was 89.

Arthur Krill was born Oct. 17, 1921, in Burlington, Colo. He earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Colorado in 1943 and 1951, respectively. Krill moved to Hartford, Conn., in 1943 to work as an experimental engineer at Pratt & Whitney Aircraft Corp. He moved back to Colorado just a year later to marry his high school sweetheart, Mary Alice Hitt. They returned to Hartford together and both worked at Pratt & Whitney.

In 1947, the Krills returned to Denver and Krill began teaching at the University of Denver. From 1955–61, Krill served as head of the mechanics division of the Denver Research Institute.

At the institute, he supervised several major projects, including a design study for a combined high-altitude test laboratory and recirculating wind tunnel, a study of the effect of projectiles on aircraft structures, and the development of static pressure design procedure for forced warm air heating systems.

Krill left DRI and in 1962 he started an engineering firm, Falcon Research, which grew to national stature. He served as president there until 1970. In 1963, Krill was named president of URS/Ken R. White Co., one of Denver’s largest engineering architectural firms.

“In our business, we try to impact the natural environment as little as possible and still provide man with the use he needs,” Krill said of the company. The firm designed airports, highways and industrial, recreational, governmental and commercial buildings, including the Blue-Cross/Blue Shield and Federal Reserve Bank buildings in Denver. It also completed projects in a dozen states.

The company currently has branch offices in six U.S. cities and has projects throughout the world.

The firm studied air and noise pollution, potential disruption of wildlife, historical or archeological sites and socio-economic impacts.

Krill was a proponent of solar energy before it became a hot topic. He explained in 1974 that in building design, one of his goals was low energy consumption for heating and air conditioning. The Blue Cross/Blue Shield building features special glass to reflect the sun’s rays and reduce the heating-cooling load.

Krill is survived by his wife of 67 years, Mary Alice Krill; children Susan Krill-Smith, Juli Lapin and Arthur Krill; six grandchildren and one great granddaughter.

Donations may be made to the University of Colorado Foundation, College of Engineering and Applied Science, 422 UCB, Boulder.


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