Thomas Joseph Kozik

Dr. Thomas J. Kozik
April 09, 1930 – December 14, 2019

Thomas J. Kozik of Carter Lake Drive, College Station, Texas, passed away on December 14, 2019, at CHI St. Joseph Health Regional Hospital in Bryan, Texas. A memorial reception will be held on 2 pm, Saturday, December 28, 2019, at the Callaway-Jones Funeral Center, 3001 South College Avenue, Bryan, Texas. Services are in the care of Callaway-Jones Funeral and Cremation Centers, Bryan-College Station.

Dr. Kozik was born on April 9, 1930 of Polish parents, Peter and Katherine Kozik. He was raised and received his elementary and secondary school education in Jersey City, New Jersey. His desire was to be an engineer, and he accordingly attended and graduated from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York, where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Aeronautical Engineering in 1952. He subsequently took a position with Curtiss Wright Propeller Division in Caldwell, New Jersey, as a structural engineer and remained with the company until 1954, when he was drafted into the U.S. Army and served with the Aviation and Meteorological Division of the Signal Corps at Fort Huachuca, Arizona. After completing his service obligation, he applied and was accepted for graduate study in the Applied Mechanics Department of The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio, where he earned Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy degrees in 1958 and 1962, respectively. It was there that he met and, in 1958, married Freda Fay Larson, a doctoral student in history. They remained together until her death in December of 2007.

Dr. Kozik accepted a faculty position in the Mechanical Engineering Department of Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas in 1963 and remained with that department until his retirement in May of 1999. During his tenure he taught undergraduate and graduate courses in mechanics, published research papers in plate and shell theory, composite materials, and offshore mechanics, and chaired twenty-two doctoral students.

Professionally, Dr. Kozik was very involved with the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME). He chaired the society’s Petroleum Division, was a member of its Energy Resource Board, and was Associate Editor of the Journal of Pressure Vessels and Piping and the Journal of Energy Resources Technology. He was also a member of the Society for Design and Process Science (SDPS), American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), American Society for Engineering Education, and the New York Academy of Sciences.

Dr. Kozik’s academic and professional honors and recognition included Fellow status in the ASME, AAAS, and SDPS; recipient of the Texas A&M University Distinguished Teaching Award, the Crawford Award for Contributions to the College of Engineering, and the Charles Plum Award for distinguished service to the Texas A&M student body; creation of the Hervey-Kozik Fellowship for graduate study in mechanical engineering; recipient of the ASME Dedicated Service, Petroleum Divisions Oil Drop, O.A. Lewis and Ralph James Awards; and being the honoree of the Integrated Design and Process Technology Conference held in Berlin, Germany.

Freda and Tom shared a love of learning, theater, books, dining, playing bridge, and being in the company of others. Tom was a history buff and could talk on any subject and loved to do so. He was generous, loved teaching, and had a real zest for life. As an only child, Tom happily adopted Freda’s family as his own. He touched so many lives and leaves a legacy of knowledge, encouragement, and wisdom to all who knew him.

Survivors include numerous nephews, nieces, great nephews, and great nieces. At Dr. Kozik’s request, his ashes will be interred with those of his wife in Olean, New York.


  1. What a nice Man. My too brief memory of Tom was after both of us had lost our wives and were partners in Bridge. We had a phenomenal night getting 15 out of 16 bids and making everyone of them. Afterwards Tom said that was God’s little reward for losing our wives. I will miss him.

  2. Tom was so loved by this community…so thankful to have called him my friend and neighbor. Nothing but love!❤️

  3. Our family is sad knowing of Tom’s passing. He was the best teacher I ever had, caring and freely sharing his immense knowledge. Tom was a great colleague at Tamu, one always caring about the wellness of all students and preparing them to be true engineers, the doers and practitioners of innovation. Tom met my children while attending church on Sundays at St Thomas and always offered a smile and encouraging words. The San Andres family thanks your lifelong kindness.

  4. He was the best uncle anyone could ever have. I almost beat him at chess once, after plying him with lasagna to the point where he was giddy. All of the other matches ended up the same way, with Uncle Tom saying something consoling like, “Well, Con, I’m afraid that’s checkmate.”

    As a child interested in trains, I truly appreciated the gift he once presented to me, a GP-9 Chesapeake and Ohio HO gauge engine. Even more, I appreciated the time he spent with me at the throttle, watching the train round the track.

    We shared a love of history, especially regarding the World War II years, and we shared biographies on the Roosevelts, Truman, Stalin, etc., as well as historic accounts of the Johnstown flood, the making of the Brooklyn Bridge, etc.

    Uncle Tom was always larger than life, jovial, a great listener and a great talker with an immense store of knowledge. I’m going to miss our conversations terribly, but I take comfort in knowing what a full life he led. Godspeed!

  5. I am glad that I had the experience of getting to know Dr. Kozik while working here at Mechanical Engineering, the impact he had on our department lasted well beyond his retirement. I know that he had such a huge impact on our students and faculty here. My thoughts and prayers for his family and friends during this time.

  6. I was so privileged to be taught by Dr. Kozik about 25 years ago. In the classroom he was a living legend–always a consummate professional with a passion for engineering and teaching. Outside of the classroom he was a kind and patient mentor to me and to countless others.

  7. Tom was such a kind and gentle soul. He will be missed. Hope he and Freta are dancing in heaven. Much love, sweet friend.

  8. What a sweet soul, I’ve known him since I was very young, my mom, Vlasta Surovik, cleaned their house. Then he was a customer of mine at the CS Kettle. May God wrap His arms around your family with love, comfort and peace

  9. Tom was a kind and generous man, one who never wavered in his commitment to the principles of academic freedom and civil liberties at the university and elsewhere. I was honored to call him a friend.

  10. Dr. Kozik was a professor to me, a friend, an ASME co-worker, and a fellow lover of Texas A&M. He was first and foremost a Professor who really cared about the students and continually helped them in many ways. He was a tireless worker for ASME, and he had few peers in the knowledge of thin shell theory and the ability to communicate it. And Texas A&M was lucky to have his dedication for many years.

    Thanks Dr. Kozik!!!
    Joe R Fowler ‘68

  11. God bless you Dr. Kozik, a true educator. I was your secretary in the late 80’s early 90’s and you encouraged me to follow my dreams. Thanks to you and other wonderful MEEN faculty I was able to finish my BA at age 35 in 1995 and my MEd in 2005. Thank you for believing in me. Cathy Sperry

  12. Growing up in the Mechanical Engineering Department “Family” Dr. and Mrs. Kozik played a special role. They were the special Uncle and Aunt to all of us Mechanical Engineering . They gave us wisdom, they recognized our special life events, and always wanted to know what was happening in our lives. As a child I knew that I cared for them deeply, as an adult I knew how important they had been in shaping my life. The stories that Dr. Kozik told of his youth and college days were both entertaining and inspiring. What life lessons he taught us through his stories!
    I am so sorry for your loss but know what an impact they both had on the people around them.

  13. Uncle Tom and Aunt Fay we’re just an extension of my own Family growing up. There are many stories exchanged when we get together. One time he brought gifts to my older Brothers, Conrad and Bob when he and Aunt Fay came to Olean, NY for a visit. Cowboy and Indian stuff to play with. Keeping with the theme that everything is bigger in Texas, there was a cowboy suit with real leather chaps and a coat of real cowskin. I mean black and white real cow “fur” and everything. Also included for the Indian side of playing were two real metal hatchets, which my Mom immediately took away and we never saw them again. Talking and laughing years later with Aunt Fay and Uncle Tom, we often wondered who would have killed who if Bob and Conrad would have gotten thier hands on the “toys”! I have so many fond memories of Aunt Fay and Uncle Tom, I could never write them all down. Food was always important to Uncle Tom! Angee’s Restaurant trips. Going to Luchia’s Restaraunt and the Hostaga Restaraunt. Ordering pizza for desert. Ordering pizza often at Mom and Dad’s house while playing poker at night. Notice I don’t often say just Uncle Tom, and almost always say Aunt Fay and Uncle Tom. It’s a natural thing like saying Mom and Dad! I always think of them as a “team”. They both complimented the other. Aunt Fay and Uncle Tom were an natural extension of our family. They were both very kind and generous and helped in every way they could. Our whole family benefited from this generosity at one time or another. They gave wanting nothing in return but to know they helped you because they were able to. He bought me my first handgun, a Smith and Wesson Model 19 .357 Magnum at Newberry’s Gun Shop on Rock City when I was 19 years old. We talked “ballistics” often when we did talk on the phone. He was always interested in what I had purchased and where I had been shooting and what I carried every day. I feel bad because I never called enough, or wrote letters enough, because of being so busy myself. I often sent “care packages” from Cuba Cheese and Hickory Farms though. Any time I did talk with Uncle Tom, it was just like we started where we left off and it had only been days since our last conversation. He and Aunt Fay were always interested in family, and wanted to know how and what every one was doing. As we all got older, one thing changed that I was sure Uncle Tom noticed, even though he already knew it deep down. This change extended to myself and my Brothers as well. We all started to say “I Love You” to each other before hanging up on a phone call or when leaving each other in person. Did it start because we we’re all getting older, and we knew tomorrow wasn’t promised? Maybe. I am really not sure, but I am glad we all started saying it rather than just assuming the others knew we felt that way. Uncle Tom, I love you. I picture you and Aunt Fay with my Mom and Dad in Heaven laughing and telling stories while playing cards, just like you did so many times before. You are all greatly missed and in our hearts and thoughts always!

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