Ewart Arthur ‘Red’ Wetherill

Red was born and grew up in the Yorkshire town of Wetherby, England. After attending Knaseborough Grammar School, he served a brief tour of duty in the Royal Navy, before emigrating to Canada, where he earned a B. Arch. degree at the University of British Columbia in 1954. 

He joined the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada and worked for three years as an architect in Edmonton, Alberta. He was then awarded a Langley Fellowship by the American Institute of Architects to attend the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he earned his M. Arch. degree and met his beloved wife, Virginia (Jinny). They married in 1958.

At MIT, Red became captivated by the field of architectural acoustics. He taught as a faculty member at Clemson University until 1960, when he began what would become a 25-year association with the consulting firm of Bolt, Beranek and Newman (BBN) in Cambridge, Mass., Los Angeles and San Francisco.

He left BBN in 1976 to join the faculty of the University of British Columbia, where he taught for three years, before returning to the BBN office in Los Angles. 

He came back to the Bay Area in 1985, working with several acoustical consulting firms until opening his own practice in 2003. In recognition of his extraordinarily broad and diverse expertise in architectural acoustics and his outstanding contributions to the field, Red was elected a Fellow of the Acoustical Society of America in 1986. He fulfilled his zest for teaching by continuing to lecture at several universities, including UC Berkeley and the University of Southern California.

He was universally acknowledged by his colleagues as a deep and original thinker, publishing numerous technical papers and continuing to consult and write until the end of his life. 

Red and Jinny moved to Alameda in 1985, where he vigorously engaged in community affairs, most notably as the President of the Citizens League for Airport Safety and Serenity, as a member of the Alameda Citizens Task Force Steering Committee, as an Alameda Land Use Commissioner, and as a member of both the Mastick Senior Center Advisory Board and the Rhythmix Cultural Works Community Advisory Board. 

Red’s dry wit and sense of humor were legendary among all who knew him, as were his modesty, warm generosity, and intellectual curiosity. He will be greatly missed.

Red is survived by Jinny, his wife of 57 years, his grandchildren, Nikki and Raice, his brother Jim, and four great-grandchildren. His beloved daughter, Diane passed away in July.

Editor’s note: for our part here at the Alameda Sun, we’ll miss Red’s unique perspective on Alameda issues that he presented through his frequent submissions in the form of letters to the editor. He would often provide a studious, intelligent and well-considered viewpoint that others may not have conceived.