Charles R Mischke
March 2, 1927 - September 10, 2016

Charles R Mischke

Charles R Mischke
Mar 2, 1927 - Sep 10, 2016

Charles R Mischke
Iframe toggler
Find Us On Facebook
Plan Ahead
Free Grief Support

Dr. Charles Russell Mischke, aged 89, passed away quietly on September 10, 2016 at the Bickford of Ames assisted living facility in Ames, Iowa.

Charles was born in New York City on March 2, 1927 to Reinhardt Charles Mischke and Dena (Scholl) Mischke. After graduation from Brooklyn Tech high school, Charles earned a Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering (BSME) degree from Cornell University in Ithaca, NY, through NROTC and commissioned an officer in the US Navy upon graduation. After serving his initial two-year active duty obligation, Charles continued in the Naval Reserve for another 29 years.

He resumed study at Cornell University, completing his Master of Mechanical Engineering (MSME) degree in 1951. During this time he met and married fellow graduate student Margaret R. Bubeck, they wed on August 4, 1951. In 1953, Charles graduated from the University of Wisconsin at Madison with his Doctorate in Mechanical Engineering (PhD, ME) with Honors.

During a 42-year academic career, Charles taught and researched at University of Kansas in Lawrence, Kansas (1953-1957), Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY where he was also appointed mechanical engineering department head (1957-1964); and Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa (1964-1995). His work in computer-aided design opened new horizons by providing engineers refinement and innovation of formerly complex, time-intensive preliminary design work. Amongst various recognitions for his expertise by industry and his peers, Charles published several mechanical engineering textbooks including the widely used textbook Machine Element Design and co-wrote the comprehensive, multi-disciplinary reference work, The Handbook of Machine Design.

Charles led Boy Scout Troop 269 in Ames as scoutmaster. His lifelong interest in electric interurban railways drew him to the hobby of model railroading. After retirement from ISU, he became involved with the Boone & Scenic Valley (B&SV) railroad at Boone, Iowa as a certified conductor, trolley motorman and diesel locomotive engineer for 15 years. His interest and research in trains treated his passengers to a wealth of technical information and anecdotes.

Charles was preceded in death by his parents, he is survived by a brother Roland Alan Mischke of Talhequah, Oklahoma, his wife Margaret, two sons Thomas and James, and two grandchildren Karl and Anna Marie.

No formal viewing or reception is planned. Burial will occur at sea, conducted by the U.S. Navy - in honor of the service which made his college education and opportunities possible.

Online condolences may be directed to

Craig Shankwitz on Jun 5, 2017

Sorry to hear that Professor Mischke has passed. I just found out because i ordered a copy of one of his books for my daughter. (I am keeping mine forever.) I hope that I can impress upon her the importance of this book.

I had him for only one class (mechanisms, ME 310), and was never so happy to receive a C- in a class before. He was tough, but VERY knowledgeable.

He was a terrific author, and his book " Mathematical Model Building: An Introduction to Engineering by Charles R. Mischke" is a genuinely brilliant introduction to engineering. He was teaching us optimization, but at the time, I was too stupid to know it.

The day before our final exam, Prof. Mischke said that the test was at noon. He asked the class, "is noon AM or PM?" The class stayed silent, until Prof. Mischke said, "Neither. It's M. Meridian" A classmate behind me whispered, "then, what's midnight?" I thought it was a good question, so I raised my hand, and asked, "What's midnight?"

He thought for a minute, and then shook his head, and shrugged his shoulders. I think that might have been the only time he didn't have an answer. I am sure that if he didn't know, he was going to find out.

The engineering world lost a legend. Condolences to the family.

Rod Olson on Sep 28, 2016

Thanks Chuck, the extra time and care you spent showing me the Boone & Scenic Valley Railroad one fall day fifteen years ago will never be forgotten. Since then it has been a pleasure and privilege to have worked with you in the diesel and the electric department. Your vast knowledge of many subjects was remarkable. You can never be replaced on car 50 but will always be remembered.

Tom Mischke on Sep 24, 2016

CandleDad, I'll emulate the virtues you taught. I'll approach each problem, weighing the values you instilled. I'll apply myself 110%, as you encouraged. And, I'll always fondly remember our unique and special times together (just us). Your loving son...

Jonathan Smith on Sep 15, 2016

Jonathan Smith on Sep 15, 2016

CandleIt was a privilege to have known Chuck for thirty years, since the days when he used to bring his interurban models for display at the Ames Railfans' meetings. I will always remember his comment on a long container train working through Ames: "That's the new Panama Canal!" It summed up all his experience as a naval officer, a railroader, and a distinguished engineer who inspired generations of students.

Bill Dolezal on Sep 15, 2016

CandleI had the honor to work with Chuck as a fellow volunteer on the B&SVRR. Working Saturdays was always a joy to see him as the motorman in the Charles City Western Car 50. As many have said, he was truly a wealth of knowledge and a wonderful ambassador for the railroad. He also served as a great mentor for me when I training to become a conductor. Chuck was truly one of the joys in working on the RR in Boone. He will be missed as he brought a lot of joy to many on those Saturdays riding the rails in Car 50 but his spirit will live on in those many lives he touched.

John Klocker on Sep 14, 2016

Chuck was a wealth of knowledge about all things mechanical and especially railroads. He was a good friend who will surely be missed.

Rebecca, Jeffery Hergert on Sep 14, 2016

CandleWe didn't know Chuck too well.
But he was definitely active at the b&svrr.
He will be missed.

Berne Ketchum on Sep 13, 2016

I wish I had gotten to know Chuck better, but the fact that he didn't know me well didn't keep him from generously offering his time, expertise and good advice on my model railroad projects. We will miss him.

CAPT D.G. MacCrea, USN (Ret) on behalf of Tom's c on Sep 13, 2016

The Iowa State NROTC Class of '77 join in extending our heartfelt sympathies to the Mischke family during this time of sorrow. We remember fondly the comments and perspectives Dr. Mischke shared with us as we prepared for our service as Navy and Marine Corps officers.We wish him continued fair winds and following seas.

Bob Drenth on Sep 13, 2016

Always found Chuck to be interesting to visit with
He Had extensive knowledge of Iowa rail history,
I'll miss his stories, and remember Chuck fondly

Bob Bourne on Sep 13, 2016

CandleChuck was a great guy who helped with my railroad. He provided guidance on prototype operations and construction. Whenever there was a question about railroading (electric or otherwise), he was the person to ask. I enjoyed his lectures at Kate Shelley show each year.
He was a walking encyclopedia. We will all miss him.

Dennis Wendell, Curator Emeritus on Sep 13, 2016

CandleThe Ames Historical Society staff was deeply saddened to learn of Chuck's recent passing. He was a regular visitor to the History Center where he passionately shared his deep knowledge of railroading. Chuck greatly enriched our understanding, particularly of the electric interurban era, and will be fondly remembered as a valued resource and supporter.



Add a photo

The services for Charles have not yet been added. Please sign up below to be notified when the services are ready.

Get Notified When a Service is Added

Iframe toggler
Find Us On Facebook
Plan Ahead
Free Grief Support
Charles R Mischke

Sign in to add your memory

Login with Facebook

We will never post without permission

Just for verification: we never spam!

Charles R Mischke

Share Photo/Memorial Tributes

Charles R Mischke

Add to Your Calendar

Charles R Mischke

Obit Checkin

Charles R Mischke

Obituary Notifications

Grief Support

Charles R Mischke

Get Updates - tribute notifications

Charles R Mischke

Get Updates - SMS notifications

Thank you for sharing your memory of Charles

Help show your support by providing a gift of flowers and spreading the word.

Spread the Word

Help friends and acquaintances of Charles leave memories by sharing to Facebook

Share to Facebook Share on Facebook

"Faith, hope, love; but the greatest of these is love"