Written by Staff Writer
Ralph Gordon Echols, 84, of Lynchburg, formerly of Lexington, died Friday, July 18, 2014, at Lynchburg General Hospital.
He was a highly acclaimed professor of architecture at several different colleges, including Texas A&M University, from which he retired in 1998.
Echols began his teaching career at Virginia Tech, where he taught architecture and urban planning. He was then the professor and chair of the Department of Architecture at Miami University in Ohio, and later professor and dean of the College of Architecture and Environmental Design at Texas A&M University, where he founded the Center for Historic Resources.
He served in the U.S. Air Force, rising to the rank of captain. He did planning and architecture work and early civil defense planning for the Department of Defense. He worked with Walter Gropius at Architects Collaborative. He participated in the excavation of and recording of inscriptions at the Temple of Inscriptions (Temple Seven), at Tikal, Guatemala
He earned bachelor's and master's degrees in architecture from Virginia Tech. He received a master's of architecture from the Graduate School of Design at Harvard University, studying under Josep Luis Serte. He received a Master of City Planning degree from the Graduate School of Fine Arts at the University of Pennsylvania.
In retirement he lived in Lynchburg, serving as a planning commissionery and as a board member of the Lynchburg Historical Foundation, the Southern Memorial Association and the Valley Conservation Council.
He was born Sept. 12, 1929, in Bluefield, W. Va., a son of the late Ralph and Rowena Carper Echols. He and his first wife, Agnes Patton Echols, who preceded him in death, grew up in the Rockbridge area. He was also preceded in death by a daughter, Annette lee Palmer.
He is survived by his wife, Ann Rowe Echols; a son, Ralph James Echols and wife Elaine; a son, Gordon Alexander Echols and wife Chriss Pryately; a son, Stuart Echols and wife Anne; a son-in-law, Thomas Palmer; and four grandchildren, John, Pete, Emily and Karina Echols.
A mass of resurrection was celebrated Monday, July 21, at Holy Cross Catholic Church in Lynchburg by Monsignor J. Kenneth Rush. Burial was at New Providence Presbyterian Church in Raphine. Arrangements were handled by Whitten Funeral Home in Lynchburg.