Francis M. Kobayashi

  • Born: November 19, 1925
  • Died: December 27, 2016
  • Location: South Bend, Indiana

Kaniewski Funeral Homes, Inc.

3545 N. Bendix Dr.
South Bend, IN 46628

Tel. (574) 277-4444

Tribute & Message From The Family

Francis M. Kobayashi, Sc.D., 91, Professor Emeritus of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering and Assistant Vice President Emeritus for Research for the University of Notre Dame, passed away on December 27, 2016 at Hospice House in South Bend.
Dr. Kobayashi was born in Seattle, WA on November 19, 1925 to the late Michael M. and Mary K. (Emi) Kobayashi. He is survived by his beloved wife Monique H. Nguyen, to whom he married on June 8, 1963, his three children: John F. Kobayashi, M.D. of Granger, IN, Yvonne M. Kobayashi, Ph.D. of Indianapolis, IN, and Robert F. (Renee) Kobayashi, B.S.M.E. of South Bend, IN, his brother Thomas T. Kobayashi of Seattle, WA, nephews Michael, Kenneth, Ronald, and Edward Sumida of Portland, OR, and niece Nan Mizuhata of Bloomington, MN. He is preceded in death by his brother, Patrick S. Kobayashi of Seattle, WA and three sisters Mary Elizabeth Sumida of Portland, OR, Anna Mizuhata of Bloomington, MN, and Mary Jane Kobayashi of Seattle, WA, and a niece Lynn Goodermont of Bloomington, MN.
He attended Garfield High School in Seattle, WA and graduated from Hunt High School during WWII in the Minidoka War Relocation Center, Minidoka Hunt, ID. After his Japanese internment, he attended Loras College in Dubuque, IA. He was the first Japanese-American to receive a bachelor's of science in aeronautical engineering (1947), a master's of science (1948), and a doctor of science in engineering mechanics (1953) from the University of Notre Dame. He was the first Japanese-American to join the faculty at Notre Dame in 1948. He was a professor in the Engineering Mechanics, Engineering Sciences, and Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering Departments. He conducted research sponsored by grants and contracts from the Office of Naval Research, David Taylor Model Basin, and the National Science Foundation in solid and fluid mechanics and systems engineering that included wave resistance of ships, rising and diving of submarines, stability of hydrofoils, photo-elastic analysis of thin shells, potential analog for deformable boundary phenomena, and adaptive systems using biological systems as prototypes. He consulted for companies that included Bendix Corporations, South Bend Tackle, and the Studebaker Corporation on topics such as the dynamics of bamboo fly fishing rods, the landing gear dynamics of aircrafts, flutter and vibration of aircraft wings and missile fins, and kinematics of high rise suspensions. He contributed his engineering dynamics expertise to the Bendix design team's NASA submission for the 1st lunar landing module. He served as a consultant and member of review panels for the National Science Foundation and site visit committee for the Office of Institutional Programs. In 1958, he received the Best Teacher of the Year Award from the Student Government at Notre Dame. From 1959 to 1961, he was Assistant Program Director of the Engineering Science program at the National Science Foundation in Washington, D.C. He was appointed by Notre Dame President Rev. Theodore Hesburgh as Assistant Vice President for Research & Advanced Studies in 1967, a position he held until his retirement in 1995. During this tenure, he monitored a ten-fold increase in grant funds for the University. He received the Rev. Theodore M. Hesburgh, C.S.C. Presidential Award for Excellence in Teaching, Research, Administration, and Service in 1972. He served on the Indiana Lt. Governor's Science Advisory Committee from 1973 to 1975. In 1995, Notre Dame established the Francis M. Kobayashi Research Travel Fund in his honor. In June 2006, he received The Rev. John Cardinal O'Hara, C.S.C. Award for Distinguished Service to the University from Notre Dame's Alumni Association. He served on the following University of Notre Dame committees: University Research Council, University Science Development, Faculty Senate, Engineering College Council, Re-search and Sponsored Programs, Protection of Human Subjects, Patents, Radiation Safety, Institutional Animal Care and Use, and Faculty Research Fund Review.
Professional and academic affiliations include American Institute for the Advancement of Science, Institute of Aeronautical Sciences, Sigma Xi, Society for Experimental Stress Analysis, American Society of Mechanical Engineers, Society of Engineering Science, American Society of Engineering Education, Tau Beta Pi, American Society for the Advancement of Science, Indiana Forum on Research Administration, National Council of University Research Administrators, Society for Research Administration, and Council on Governmental Relations.
He will long be remembered by his students as a great scholar and mentor, and by faculty members for directing the Office of Research through the early years of its de-velopment, advising faculty and students through the "thicket" of applying for grants and contracts in both the public and private sectors.
The family will receive friends from 4:00 to 7:00 PM on Monday, January 2, 2017 at the Kaniewski Funeral Home, 3545 N. Bendix Dr, Visitation will be Tuesday, January 03, 2017 from 8:30-9:15 AM at the Basilica of the Sacred Heart, University of Notre Dame. The funeral mass will follow at 9:30 AM. Burial will follow the service at Cedar Grove Cemetery on the Notre Dame campus.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Francis M. Kobayashi Research and Travel Fund (Office of Research) at the University of Notre Dame through the following website, or send a check payable to the University of Notre Dame with the memo "For the Francis M. Kobayashi Travel Fund" and addressed to Jamery S. Barry, Assistant Director, Development Donor Services, University of Notre Dame, 1100 Grace Hall, Notre Dame, IN 46556. Online condolences may be expressed to the family at