Charles Rex McCardell

San Francisco Chronicle (Sunday) - - LIFE TRIBUTES -

Sept. 6,1926 - July 12, 2018

Rex McCardell, a ma­rine en­gi­neer who played a ma­jor role in the de­sign and con­struc­tion of Golden Gate Ferry’s first three fast fer­ry­boats, died on July 12, 2018 at this home in Mill Val­ley. He was 91 years old and had been ill for some time.

He had a long ca­reer in both civil and mar­itime en­gi­neer­ing and spent 35 years work­ing for the Golden Gate Bridge Dis­trict’s ferry divi­sion. When he re­tired, ferry tran­sit man­ager, Eric Robin­son, said McCardell’s tech­ni­cal and pro­fes­sional knowl­edge “was in­dis­pens­able” to the ferry divi­sion. He joined the ferry divi­sion in 1972 and worked on the con­struc­tion of the fer­ries San Fran­cisco, Marin and Sonoma, which be­came main­stays of the San Fran­cisco-Lark­spur run. He also worked on ferry ter­mi­nals and had im­por­tant roles in con­vert­ing the three Lark­spur boats from gas tur­bine propul­sion to diesel power. The three fer­ries, now 41 years old, con­tinue in daily op­er­a­tion on San Fran­cisco Bay and have proved com­fort­able and re­li­able.

McCardell was a rare pro­fes­sional in the en­gi­neer­ing field - he was both a civil and ma­rine en­gi­neer. In the civil field, he was a con­sul­tant on the con­struc­tion of the Tau­gus River sus­pen­sion bridge in Lis­bon, Por­tu­gal, and served for a time as city en­gi­neer of the town of Bris­bane on the San Fran­cisco Penin­sula.

Charles Rex McCardell – his friends al­ways called him “Rex” – was born in San Fran­cisco on Septem­ber 6, 1926 and moved at an early age to Bris­bane. He grad­u­ated from Jef­fer­son High School in Daly City and then at­tended the United States Mer­chant Ma­rine Academy at Kings Point, N.Y. and grad­u­ated with a de­gree in ma­rine en­gi­neer­ing in 1947 and com­mis­sioned as a Naval Re­serve of­fi­cer. As a cadet he served aboard a Lib­erty Ship in 1944 and par­tic­i­pated in the in­va­sion of Ok­i­nawa. He re­mained in the Naval Re­serve and served as chief en­gi­neer on the USS Wat­son dur­ing the Korean war.

Be­tween wars, he earned a de­gree in civil en­gi­neer­ing from the Univer­sity of Cal­i­for­nia at Berke­ley. He was also vice pres­i­dent and chief en­gi­neer for Thomas Tl Lunde, Inc., a San Fran­cisco en­gi­neer­ing firm.

Rex McCardell and his beloved wife, No­rah, were mar­ried for more than 50 years. They spent their hon­ey­moon trav­el­ing around the world, fly­ing aboard Pan Amer­i­can World Air­ways fa­mous Flight 1. They trav­elled ev­ery chance they could get un­til her death last year.

Af­ter his re­tire­ment, McCardell lent his en­gi­neer­ing and busi­ness ex­pe­ri­ence to the World War II Lib­erty Ship Jeremiah O’Brien, docked as a liv­ing memo­rial in San Fran­cisco. He served for many years as a mem­ber of the Board of Direc­tors of the Na­tional Lib­erty Ship Memo­rial, which owns and op­er­ates the ship.

Do­na­tions may be made in Rex McCardell’s honor to the Na­tional Lib­erty Ship Memo­rial in San Fran­cisco

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