Date of Birth: 6/27/1919
Date of Death: 4/25/2015
Services: Memorial Service, Saturday 1:00 PM at First United Methodist Church, 7020 Cass Street, Omaha, Nebraska.
Memorials: In lieu of flowers it is respectfully requested that donations be made to the Mid-America Council of the Boy Scouts of America, 12401 West Maple Road, Omaha, NE 68164.
ROGER LOUIS PENTZIEN was born on June 27, 1919, died on April 25, 2015. He was 95 years old. Born and raised in the community of Manitowoc, Wisconsin on the shores of Lake Michigan he was a strong swimmer and competitive diver during high school years at Manitowoc Lincoln High School. He played trombone in the band, achieved a varsity letter within the Instrumental Music Department all four years and attained similar recognition in competitive diving. During high school he met Evalyn “June” Hahn, and the couple was married following his graduation from the University of Wisconsin, Madison where he earned a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering in 1942. The newly commissioned second lieutenant and his new bride departed for Fort Ord, California where he benefited from further U.S. Army engineering training consistent with his volunteering to join the ranks of the 13th Engineer Battalion, United States Corps of Combat Engineers. He and his young bride had a brief time together on the Monterey Peninsula in California before he deployed for the Aleutian Islands off the coast of Alaska as enemy troops threatened invasion of the area leading into Canada and the northwestern United States. During his subsequent tour with the 7th Army for the next 3 and ½ years he distinguished himself as a Combat Engineer Unit Commander earning the Silver Star Medal, the Bronze Star Medal with the Oak Leaf Cluster (for second award) and attained the rank of Major. With the end of the World War II in Africa, Europe and the Pacific (his sole theater of action on Saipan, Iwo Jima, Guadalcanal, among others), he was honorably discharged from the U.S. Army Combat Engineers and returned home to his wife, June, in Omaha. During his time overseas she attended the Omaha University and studied accounting and bookkeeping.
He joined Omaha Dredge & Dock Company as chief engineer, where he was introduced to the pipeline industry. River and marine construction quickly became his area of expertise as he soon set the bar for the field. In 1950 he joined his father, Louis I. Pentzien, in founding Pentzien, Inc., and in 1962 succeeded his father as president of the company recognized as professional engineers, gaining patents for progressive innovations, earning the respect of fellow engineering firms on a national and international level from Alaska to South America and having worked on virtually every major waterway in the United States, including an epic twin pipeline placement across the picturesque and challenging Straits of Mackinaw at the boundaries of Lakes
Michigan and Superior. The Pipe Line Contractors Association honored him in 1980, when he was elected president of the association. Thereafter, with diligence and continued team building, he exceeded standards of quality improvement, worked with ecology groups to protect the environment, and in most recent years consulted with Midwest legislators to assure the American public of the safety, feasibility and necessity of the Keystone Pipeline Project. After more than 60 years in the pipeline industry he retired from the profession, and truly came home to his family.
A strong team of fellow workers, a love of profession and a balance to life served as beacons to his days, and seemed to play an inescapable role as to his longevity.
An Eagle Scout as a boy he maintained unfailing devotion to the very program (Boy Scouts of America) based on developing young men as he volunteered thousands of hours and devoted his engineering expertise and team with heavy construction equipment to support the Mid-America Council of Nebraska, Iowa and South Dakota. He was seminal in revitalizing Camp Cedars, envisioned a program for advanced scouts and scouters through Camp Eagle, both near Fremont, Nebraska and planned, dredged and formed the white, sandy beaches of The Little Sioux Scout Ranch’s waterfront area, giving young men (and women) an opportunity second to none to develop aquatic skills in swimming, rowing, canoeing and sailing. He brought dreams to reality for generations to come. And when Little Sioux was tragically struck by a tornado on June 11, 2008, he and fellow scouters were among first responders and then quickly rebuilt to move forward. As a volunteer scouter, he received the Silver Beaver Award, the Distinguished Eagle Scout Award, conquered the front range trails of Colorado, labored at Camp Philmont Scout Ranch and walked in the footsteps of Abraham Lincoln from Indiana to Illinois on the National Heritage-sponsored Lincoln Trail.
Preceded by his wife, June; parents, Louis and Della Pentzien; and sister, Margie Sharpe (a former curator at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC).
Survived by sons, Roger Jay (Evelyn) Pentzien, M.D, Robert Alan (Linda) Pentzien; daughter, Kay Adele (Patrick Thompson) Pentzien; 9 grandchildren and 7 great-grandchildren; sister, Kelly (Edward) Meehan; numerous other family and friends.