James W. Libby

May 18, 2001 12:00 am

James W. Libby, 80, Brookings, died May 15, 2001, in Brookings of cancer.

He was born June 27, 1920, in Los Angeles.

Mr. Libbys parents were medical missionaries in China, where he spent much of his youth. He attended Kuling American School in the mountains of LuShan, Shinang-si, and achieved the Eagle Scout rank.

He returned to the U.S. to complete his studies at Reed College in Portland and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, earning a degree in civil engineering in 1943. Mr. Libby served as a lieutenant commander in the U.S. Navy during World War II.

He became one of the 10 top hydroelectric engineers in the world, working on about 50 dams, including 25 projects in Brazil, from initial investigations through construction. He worked as a private consultant from the U.S. after 1965, his family said.

On Sept. 21, 1995, he was given the Order of Rio Branco, the highest honor accorded a non-Brazilian by the government of Brazil.

Mr. Libby enjoyed music, and spent many hours playing his organ and piano, often accompanied by his wife, Birdie. He and his wife also enjoyed dancing.

Survivors include his wife of Brookings; a brother and sister-in-law, Paul E. and Mary Libby of Glendale; a sister, Alice Martin of Mackinac Island, Mich.; a brother and sister-in-law, Donald E. and Barbara Libby of Grand Rapids, Mich; a stepson and daughter-in-law, James and Marilyn Klahr of Brookings; two stepdaughters, Lula Younce of Tigard and Flora Eaker of Bold Beach.

Also surviving are several stepgrandchildren, and many nieces and nephews.

The family suggests memorial gifts to Curry County Home Health and Hospice, Curry Public Transit, the Chetco Senior Center or any charity of the donors choice.

Private services will be held.