Illinois’ First Licensed Female Structural Engineer Dies at 97

Frances “Frankie” Barnett, the first woman to be licensed in Illinois as a structural engineer, has died at 97.

A Life Member of ASCE, Barnett was one of two female engineering graduates in 1944 at the University of Colorado. From there, she began her career with Boeing in Seattle, as well as get married.

Having settled in Chicago after the war, in 1950 Barnett became Illinois’ first female registered professional engineer in the structural field.

Barnett subsequently worked for Galveston County, in Galveston, Texas, and Crocker and Ryan, in Denver. She was employed by the Bureau of Reclamation in Lakewood, Colorado, for many years, finishing her career there as the head of their specifications unit in 1982.

Through her career she proudly supported women in engineering, and was also proud of her lifetime membership in ASCE.


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