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


Condolence & Memory Journal

Had the privilege of meeting you, with my father, George L Koloszar-which was also on the design team at Bendix. Brilliant. Wish you and your family the absolute best for the future. I just now learned of your passing. Kurt L Koloszar

Posted by Kurt Koloszar - South Bend, IN - Acquaintance   January 26, 2017

I was on the faculty of the Department of Engineering Science from 1963 to 1965. Frank was also in the department during those years. I enjoyed our association and considered him a true gentleman and an outstanding scholar. My wife and I extend our sincere sympathy at your loss.

Posted by Jim Doyle - Louisville, KY   January 06, 2017

Dear Mrs. Kobayashi and Yvonne, Bobby, John, and families,

I am so very sorry to hear of Dr. Kobayashi's passing. I remember him as a deeply kind man, both tolerant of and patient with all of us neighborhood kids when we played over at Yvonne and Bobby's house. Please know that my family and I are keeping you all in our thoughts and prayers. With deepest condolences, Liana (Odrcic)

Posted by Liana Odrcic - Shorewood, WI - Neighbor   January 03, 2017

Frank was one of the nicest person I ever met. He was very successful in his profession and family. He and Monique have raised their children very well. Thanks to Monique, taking very good care and support him all his life, so we were able to see him for many many years. He will be missed and remained in my memory forever.

Posted by Kaly Liell - Granger, IN - Friend   January 03, 2017

Our deepest sympathy for your loss. A man Notre Dame and Indiana could be very proud of. He left a legacy to be proud of in the family he left behind. Your loss is also our nations loss.

Posted by Harold Paul - North Liberty, IN   January 02, 2017

Yvonne, So sorry for your loss. Heard you talk about your dad and knew he must be a good father. Thinking about you. John and Sara Sharp

Posted by John and Sara Sharp - Arlington, MA - Family Friend   January 01, 2017

Bob and Renee,
So sorry to hear of your father (and in-law) 's death. What an accomplished life he lived even the trials he faced. And also what a long life he lived. You can ask for more than that. Cherish the many memories you have, and appreciate the good life he lived. Barb and Greg Brownell

Posted by Barb and Greg Brownell - South Bend, IN   January 01, 2017

My mother, Joanne Strahla worked with Dr. Kobayashi on 3rd floor of admin. bldg. for years. Her thoughts and prayers to the family. My mother is 87 yrs old now and has dementia. She thought very highly of him.

Posted by Jona Strahla - South Bend, IN   January 01, 2017


Sorry for the big loss of your daddy, Yvonne.

All I learned from you about your dad is that he is great dad and a great person.

Please take care of yourself.

Posted by Kathy Wang - Indianapolis, IN - Neighbor   December 31, 2016

To the Kobayashi family, we send you our sympathy. Frank left a wonderful and exciting legacy. He did so much for your family and for the family of Notre Dame. He will be truly missed.

Posted by Jo Ann and Gary Gabrich - South Bend, IN - Coworker   December 31, 2016

Dear Monique, John, Yvonne, and Bobby,

Your father was a true gentleman, a kind and respectful man. I keep warm memories of meetings with him. He was lucky to have such a wonderful family. Please receive all my condolences.

Posted by David Dorais - Montréal, QC   December 31, 2016


To Chi Yên, John, Yvonne, Bobby & Renee,

What a kindhearted and generous man your husband and father was. We are missing Francis along with you.
We know this must be a very difficult and demanding time for you all. We are keeping you in our thoughts and prayers.

Thinking of you,

Cuong & Hang

Posted by Cuong & Hang NGUYEN KIM - Cambridge, MA - Family   December 31, 2016

Dear Monique,

Rose-Marie joins me in offering sincere condolences for your loss. Sadly we are out of the country and will not be returning until Jan 7, so we cannot be with you during this sad time. However, our love and prayers will be with you

Posted by Jim Merz - South Bend   December 30, 2016

Yvonne, Bobby, John, & Monique I am so very sorry for your loss of your wonderful father & husband. I will always remember him during my childhood when my brothers and I spent time at your house. He was an amazing father and I remember his sense of humor too with a smile. You are in my thoughts and prayers. Love to all. Claire

Posted by Claire Dettling Shely - Mishawaka@geniusphonerepair., IN - Friend   December 29, 2016

Prayers for your entire family. God bless!

Posted by Delia Lozano Porras - Brookfield, IL - Friend   December 29, 2016