G&A Remembers Dr. Robert A. Muller

Dr. Muller ImageDr. Robert A. Muller died March 12, 2020 in Baton Rouge.  He was 91 years old, born in 1928 in Passaic, New Jersey, growing up in the New York metropolitan region. A graduate of Lyndhurst High School in 1945, Bob worked as a printer adjacent to the Brooklyn Bridge in Lower Manhattan for seven years. Bob served in the US Army in Germany during the Korean War, and with the GI Bill, graduated in geography from Rutgers University in 1958, earning an MS and PhD in physical geography and climatology at Syracuse University in 1962.

Before coming to LSU in 1969, Bob held a joint position with the U.S. Forest Service and the University of California at Berkeley, and as an associate professor at Rutgers University. Later Bob also participated in visiting appointments at the University of Delaware and the University of Wisconsin at Madison. At LSU, Bob's primary appointment was as climatologist in the Department of Geography and Anthropology where Bob reestablished the position of State Climatologist and initiated the Office of State Climatology. With federal funding he founded the Southern Regional Climate Center where he served as Director for six years before retirement. He also had a joint appointment in the Department of Agricultural Engineering in order to introduce a network of automated climate monitoring stations located at agricultural experiment stations across Louisiana.

Dr. MullerProfessionally, Bob is remembered for his research applying water-budget climatology models to floods and droughts, for the pioneering development of synoptic climatology in Louisiana, and with his younger colleague Barry Keim, for their study of the geography and history of tropical storm and hurricane strikes along the Atlantic Coast from Maine to the Yucatan. In all, Bob produced 8 PhD students, and an additional 7 MS students and he was loved and respected by them. In 2003 Bob was honored with the lifetime achievement award in climatology by the Association of American Geographers.

He is survived by his wife, Beate "Sonni" Eckenbach-Fiedel Muller in Baton Rouge, previously Stuttgart, Germany, a daughter and son-in-law, Lisa and Justin Bourgeois and two grandchildren, Ashton Leigh and Myles Patrick, in The Woodlands, Texas; a son John Henry Muller in Fort Walton Beach, Florida, and a brother, Jim Muller, in Lewes, Delaware. He was preceded in death by his first wife, Jeanne Underhill Muller, and his parents, Albert and Helen Muller, and a sister, Jean Marshall, in Rutherford, New Jersey. He was a member of University United Methodist Church. Given current circumstances internationally, nationally, and locally with the coronavirus, a memorial service will be held, but at a time to be announced in the near future. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the church or to the Department of Geography & Anthropology at LSU.