The Passing of Cyril Durrenberger

 Head Shot of Lecturer Cyril DurrenbergerA memorial service will be held 3:30 PM on March 19, 2016 at St. Matthews Episcopal Church located at 8134 Mesa Drive in Austin, TX. The family requests that in lieu of flowers, charitable contributions be made to The Lakes Area Music Festival in Brainerd, Minnesota.

Cyril Durrenberger, senior lecturer in the McKetta Department of Chemical Engineering, passed away Friday, March 4, 2016 in Austin, Texas after a three-month battle with Stage IV lung cancer. He is survived by his wife of 46 years, Lynn; his two sons, Carl and James; his two grandsons, Jasper and Jackson; and three siblings, Sue Albertson, Beth Hudspeth, and E. Paul Durrenberger.

Durrenberger was born on January 26, 1942 in Bellaire, Texas to parents Mazo Tisinger and Edward Durrenberger. He attended Bellaire High School and was active in ROTC and his school orchestra as a violinist. Upon graduation, Mr. Durrenberger attended Texas A&M University, from which he graduated in 1964 with a B.A. in Mathematics. Mr. Durrenberger later pursued graduate studies at The University of Texas at Austin, from which he received an M.A. in Mathematics in 1966 and an M.S. in Environmental Health Engineering in 1977, the latter as an EPA Fellow.

In the newly-emergent field of air pollution, Mr. Durrenberger sought to develop the rigorous science needed to monitor, simulate, and improve air quality in the State of Texas. As an engineer at the NASCENT Texas Air Control Board, which ultimately became part of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, he presided over efforts to identify and catalog the various sources of pollution emissions; worked tirelessly to build mathematical models describing the transport and quantitative impact of pollutants; and pursued an improved understanding of the atmospheric chemistry that governs the creation of smog and ozone. Mr. Durrenberger also played an important role in developing strategies for attaining air quality goals in Texas. As such, he was one of several key architects of Texas’s implementation of EPA’s Clean Air Act from the mid-1970’s onward. His inspiration and tutelage still pervade the culture and reputation of the Texas air quality programs.

In a second career after his retirement from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, Mr. Durrenberger joined the adjunct faculty at UT Austin. As such, he assumed dual roles as researcher and lecturer, continuing to pursue the science of air pollution while teaching multiple courses in the McKetta Department of Chemical Engineering.

“Cyril was a wonderful research colleague and a dedicated teacher,” Texas ChE’s Dr. David Allen said. “Those of us who had the pleasure of working with him closely will miss him dearly”

During the Vietnam War, from 1966 to 1968, Mr. Durrenberger was stationed at Fort Knox, Kentucky as an armor officer in the United States Army. It was at an officer’s club event at Fort Knox that he met his future wife, Lynn Anne Pappenfus of St. Cloud, Minnesota, who was an officer in the Army Medical Specialist Corps. They were married on September 6, 1969. Cyril Durrenberger was actively involved in numerous community and hobby organizations, reflecting a rich diversity of interests to which he brought the same focus and commitment that he did his professional life. A lifelong lover of classical music, Mr. Durrenberger and his wife served in the Volunteer Ushers of the Austin Symphony for 37 years. He taught both his sons how to play violin and instilled in them a love of classical music, serving as their first music teachers. Later, Mr. and Mrs. Durrenberger became avid supporters of the Lakes Area Music Festival held each summer north of Minnesota’s Twin Cities.

Mr. Durrenberger was a scholar of railroad history, developing a unique expertise in the multitudes of regional routes and carriers that once served the logging, oil, and cotton industries of Central and East Texas. He maintained an enormous personal archive of equipment registries, photographs, timetables, and literature on the subject and was a regular author of articles published in Model Railroader, Prototype Modeler, and other hobbyist journals. Mr. Durrenberger was awarded the title of Master Model Railroader in 1980 by the National Model Railroad Association and in recent years was an active member of two local model railroading organizations the Texas Outlaws and Hill Country Outlaws.

An ardent nature and outdoor enthusiast, Mr. Durrenberger taught his family a love of camping, hiking, and backwoods exploration. For many years he was active in the Boy Scouts of America, serving as an assistant scoutmaster in Troop 48 at Crestview United Methodist Church in Austin. Mr. Durrenberger planned and led numerous high adventure scouting treks into the mountains of Colorado and New Mexico as well as the Boundary Waters of Minnesota and Canada. Additionally, he was an active participant in various scoutmaster training programs within the Capital Area Council.

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