More on the Life of Robert (Bob) Gloyna

On June 9, 2017 I posted an article “Search for Wendish Patents Continue”.  Part of that post focussed on Robert Gloyna and his brother, Dr. Eanest Gloyna, with more of an emphasis on Dr. Gloyna’s accomplishments.  Since then, I have learned more about Bob Gloyna and would like to share that here.  This was shared with me by Bob Gloyna.

Bob Gloyna always wanted to build things. His early years were spent on the farm and ranch, but when he had a chance to attend college, he gladly took the opportunity. He received a BS in Civil Engineering from the University of Texas in 1951, was married, and was called to active duty in the Army in the same year. The Army provided a good training experience because his unit, the 332nd Engineer Aviation Battalion, was primarily made up of experienced construction personnel and was used in training other units and personnel in airfield and general construction techniques. Bob started out as Platoon Leader in charge of heavy construction equipment, and after promotion to 1st Lt., he was appointed Company Commander of Headquarters Company.

Bob joined Phillips Petroleum Company upon release from active duty, and was employed at McGregor, Texas, in their solid rocket fuel and rocket booster development program. Construction consisted of a pilot plant, a semi-works plant, and finally, a production plant which required extensive remote control systems. Bob transferred to Philips Chemical Company near Houston in 1956. He was engaged in engineering design and maintenance in a complex of chemical units, which included a new polyethylene manufacturing process. During the years with Phillips, Bob attended the University of Houston night school and received a MBA in Management.

Bob’s interest in polyethylene led him to join U. S. Industrial Chemicals (U.S.I.), a division of National Distillers and Chemical, in Deer Park, Texas, in 1962. U.S.I. was in the process of developing a new high pressure manufacturing process for polyethylene. As a result, Bob’s expertise grew with the developing process, and he was soon called on to join design and construction teams to build the new plants, not only for U.S.I., but for licensees all over the world. He made trips to Japan, Germany and Switzerland, as well as U.S companies, to procure and inspect equipment. Bob was part of a start-up team for a plant in Taiwan. Bob moved his family to Holland in 1970, where his team designed a newer version of the plant. Two plants were built in Europe and one in Brazil from this design. Later, Bob and family moved to Brazil, where he was assigned as Engineering Manager in charge of the civil and mechanical portions of the work. His duties also included hiring and training Brazilian personnel for engineering department positions. Several trips were made in the following years to operating plants in Japan, Belgium and Brazil to assist with mechanical maintenance and training.

The final years of employment before retirement in 1961, were in Port Arthur, Texas, where Bob was appointed Engineering Manager of the Quantum (name change from U.S.I) multi-plant complex, composed of four different varieties of polyethylene manufacturing units and other chemical units.

Immediately after retirement, Bob accepted a project management position, in Austin, Texas, to design, build and start up a unique process plant for Huntsman Chemical, to convert hydrocarbon contaminated waste water to pure water and CO2. After this assignment was completed, Bob continued to perform consulting services in civil and mechanical areas in and around Austin. He served on the Board of Directors of an emerging engineering design company for two years and finally retired again in 2002.

Bob married Edna Knippa in 1951 and they have two children. After retiring the second time, Bob researched and wrote a genealogy book on the family of Edna’s great grandfather, who immigrated on the Ben Nevis in 1854. The book is in the Wendish Heritage Museum at Serbin. Bob and Edna are now living in a retirement facility in Austin.


Rev. Zejler and an Old Wendish Sinner

The Rev. Handrij Zejler (1804 – 1872) is the second most famous pastor who was both Lutheran and Wendish. The most famous, of course, is our own Rev. Jan Kilian. Rev. Zejler is also one of the two most famous Wendish poets who wrote in Upper Wendish, the other being the Catholic priest Jakub Bart-Ćišinski. (The Rev. Mato Kosyk was a Lower Wend and wrote in Lower Wendish.)

At the two summer Wendish courses I’ve attended (and health permitting, I hope to attend next summer’s, too), we visited Rev. Zejler’s church in Lohsa (Wendish: Łaz). It’s a sad example of how the Lutheran Wends in Lusatia aren’t keeping up their language like the Catholics are. At the first summer course I attended (2012), the church warden told me that they had discontinued Wendish services back in 1960.

Anyway, on to the humorous story about Rev. Zejler and an old Wendish sinner. I’ll tell it in English and add a couple of comments:

The water in the creeks, lakes, etc. of Germany is awfully cold by Texas standards. Rev. Zejler had warned an elderly member of his congregation who liked his daily morning swim that he was much too old for that sort of thing and was running the risk of pneumonia. As the Bible says (Matthew 4:7), we’re not to take risks with our health or safety. Well, his parishioner refused to heed his warning and continued to go for his swims anyway.

One day Rev. Zejler was out for a walk and noticed the man taking his swim. He gently chided him, to which the man replied “Satan tempted me again.” Rev. Zejler said “I’ve told you to remember Matthew 16:23 and say ‘get thee behind me, Satan!'” The man said “that’s exactly what I said, so old Satan did get behind me.” Rev. Zejler then asked “and what happened then?”

The old sinner replied: “He shoved me in!”

There’s actually a lot of truth in this story. We often sin and then blame it on others. I recall a story which the sainted Dr. George Beto told us in religion class at Concordia High School more years back than I care to count:

A woman went to see her pastor about her troublesome son. She said “Pastor, those boys my son hangs out with got him drunk again last night.” Her pastor said “now hold on a minute! Did they tie him up, pin him down, put a funnel into his mouth, and pour whiskey down his throat? If not, it was your son’s fault for giving in to temptation.”


Search for Wendish Patents Continues

After the article about my search for Wends who had been awarded patents was published in the TWHS Newsletter, I received several emails from TWHS members who had either been awarded patents, or who had relatives who had been awarded patents.  I was excited by all of them and I wanted to share with you what was shared with me.

The first email I received was from Richard Gruetzner, Vice President of the Texas Wendish Heritage Society and Museum.  Richard told me about a patent that was awarded to the Reverend Johann August Proft (John A. Proft).  Reverend Proft was the brother of Magdalene Proft Gruetzner, Richard Gruetzner’s 2nd great grandmother.

Johann A. Proft, as a young man in Bautzen, completed an apprenticeship as a cabinetmaker before studying to become a missionary.  After arriving in New York with a group of other missionaries, Johann Proft travelled to Saint Louis and enrolled in the seminary.  Reverend Proft was the first pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church in Fedor.  Reverend Proft used his wood working experience to build a house in Fedor and the baptismal font for St. Paul Lutheran Church in Serbin.  In 1880, Reverend Proft moved to Springtown, Missouri .  While there, he used his wood working skills and ingenuity to file a patent titled “Extension table” on September 24, 1881, and was awarded patent number 255,454 on March 28, 1882.

If you would like to find out more about Reverend Proft, there is a nice article about his life on the Wendish Research Exchange written by Robert Proft and George Nielsen.  You can find the article on George Nielsen’s blog using this link  Additional information regarding Reverend Proft can be found on the Wendish Research Exchange under the Forum titled “Texas Place Names” with the subtitle, “Fedor, Lee County, Texas – Daughter of Serbin” using this link:

James Dube also emailed me to tell me that he was awarded a patent.  The patent is co-owned with Ralph Miller.  The patent is titled “Process for the purification of O,O-di(lower) alkyldithiophosphoric acids.”  The patent was filed on May 10, 1977 and awarded on June 24, 1980.  The patent number is 4,209,491.

I received two emails from Robert Gloyna.  Robert and his brother Dr. Earnest Gloyna, were both awarded multiple patents.  The Gloyna brothers’ paternal grandparents immigrated from the Bad Muskau region in Upper Lusatia (now part of Germany and Poland) in the 1880’s to Texas.  For more information about their family, please see the Gloyna/Hentschel Genealogy Book in the Serbin library.

Robert R. Gloyna has had over fifty years of engineering experience.  Fifty of those years have been as a licensed engineer.  He and Travis R. Dickinson filed for a patent on November 30, 1959.  They were awarded patent number 3,010,151 for a “Modified double-barrel extrusion apparatus” on November 28, 1961.  Robert R. Gloyna, and four other applicants, filed for a patent for a “Supercritical oxidation apparatus for treating water with side injection ports” on April 1, 1994.  Their patent number is 5,582,715 and was awarded on December 10, 1996. Robert Gloyna’s brother, Dr. Earnest Gloyna was also very talented.

Dr. Earnest Gloyna was the Dean of Engineering at the University of Texas from 1970 until 1987.  Dr. Earnest Gloyna was awarded one patent before becoming Dean of Engineering, and another six after his tenure.  His first patent had two co-signers, and was awarded patent number 5,358,546 on October 25, 1968 for a “Method and Apparatus for Multiple State and Recycle Wet Oxidation.”  His other patents are:

• “Apparatus for Reverse Injection Wet Oxidation, Sintered Material Catalytic Reaction” was awarded on June 6, 1995 to Dr. Earnst Gloyna and one co-signer. The patent number is 5,421,998.

• “Method and Apparatus for Reverse Injection Wet Oxidation, Sintered Material Catalytic Reaction, Sintered Material Filtration at Supercritical Conditions, Sintered Material Gas Separation, High Temperature Pressurization”, patent number 5,454,950; was granted on October 3, 1995 to Dr. Earnest Gloyna and one co-signer.

• On June 18, 1996 Dr. Earnest Gloyna, and one co-signer, were awarded patent number 5,527,466 for “Cross-flow Filtration Apparatus and Method.”

• Dr. Earnest Gloyna and two co-signers were awarded patent number 5,565,616 on October 25, 1996 for “Controlled Hydrothermal Processing.”

• Patent number 5,578,647 was awarded to Dr. Earnest Gloyna and one co-signer on November 28, 1996 for “Method of Producing Off-Gas Having a Selected Ratio of Carbon Monoxide to Hydrogen.”

• And last but not least, Dr. Earnest Gloyna and one co-signer were awarded a patent for “Method for Selective Separation of Products at Hydrothermal Conditions” on July 28, 1998.  The patent number is 5,785,868.

While searching for Dr. Earnest Gloyna I found this from the May 2008 edition of the “Engineering Our Future”, from Texas Tech University College of Engineering:

“On January 28, 2008, Dr. Earnest Gloyna, D.E., P.E., D.E.E., former Dean of the University of Texas College of Engineering, received The Presidential Citation for 2007 from the University of Texas at Austin.
According to The University of Texas, “The award was created in 1979 to recognize extraordinary contributions of individuals who personify the university’s commitment to the task of transforming lives.” Other recipients of the 2007 award include Hector De Leon, an Austin attorney, and the late Mrs. Lyndon Baines “Lady Bird” Johnson. Dr. Gloyna, Mrs. Johnson, and Mr. De Leon will have Presidential Citation Endowed Scholarships named in their honor.

Dr. Earnest Gloyna earned a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from Texas Technical College in 1946, and was named a Distinguished Engineer for the College of Engineering in 1971.”

Dr. Earnest Gloyna received his Master of Science degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Texas in 1949, and his doctorate degree (PHD) in Engineering from John Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland in 1951.  If you would like to know more about Dr. Earnest Gloyna’s life, check out the book written by Davis L. Ford, Reflections of a Soldier and Scholar: The Life of Earnest F. Gloyna.

Reverend Proft, James Dube, and both Gloyna brothers (Robert, R. and Dr. Earnest Gloyna) are incredible engineers.  While I cannot tell you the details of all of their patents because I do not understand them, I realize they are all people who wanted to improve things for others.  Based on the number of patents they were awarded collectively, they have succeeded.

If you would like to know more about any of these patents, please leave me a comment and I will be happy to respond to you.