In Memoriam: Wallace (Wally) Behnke (1926-2022)

Wallace (Wally) Behnke Jr. IEEE Life Fellow and 1988/89 IEEE PES President passed away on 11 January 2022. Wally had an illustrious and very successful career at Commonwealth Edison. He was involved with nuclear energy and was selected to head Project Management Corporation (PMC) which oversaw the design and construction of the Clinch River Breeder Reactor Project in Tennessee.

An IEEE member since 1948 he was elevated to Fellow status “for contributions in developing economical nuclear power and the fast breeder reactors”. He served on the PES Administrative Committee from 1986 to 1991. He also served on the IEEE Board of Directors as Division VII Director (1990/91) and on the IEEE Foundation Board of Directors (1999-2004). His contributions to IEEE and PES are greatly appreciated.

The IEEE Power & Energy Society expresses its condolences to the family and friends of Wallace Behnke, Jr. His obituary is available online.

From Wallace Behnke’s obituary:

Born February 5, 1926, in Evanston, IL to Wallace Blanchard Behnke and Dorothea Eliza Bull Behnke. Graduated from Northwestern University with a BS in Science (1945) and Electrical Engineering (1947). He served in the US Navy during WWII and the Korean War. He married Joan Fortune Murphy of Kenilworth, IL on September 24, 1949 and raised three children; Susan, Ann, and Thomas.

Wallace began his career at Chicago’s Commonwealth Edison Co., retiring as Vice Chairman (1989). During his tenure, he was head of the Project Management Corporation which oversaw the design and construction of the Clinch River Breeder Reactor Project in Tennessee. He was very active in the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). He received several distinguished awards and sat on numerous boards.


Link to 1990 Board photo on ETHW: https://ethw.org/File:1990_IEEE_Board_of_Directors_3940.jpg