Obituary - Fred Traice CEng FIMMM

Fellows' Lounge
22 Jan 2014

Fred Traice CEng FIMMM  1939–2013

Fred Traice, former President of the Cleveland Institution of Engineers, passed away on 11 October 2013 in Harrogate. He was born in January 1939 in Reading, Berkshire, and attended local grammar schools prior to obtaining a degree in Physics from Sheffield University in 1960.

Fred started work for British Steel in March 1961 as Scientific Officer, Continuous Casting Research, at the former BISRA in Sheffield. From 1963 to 1969 he held the position of Laboratory Head, Minerals Lab, United Steel Company BSC Midland Group at Swinden Laboratories in Rotherham. He then worked as Section Head, Ironmaking Research, BSC General Steels, then Acting Assistant Research Manager, Primary Ops Group, BSC General Steels until 1974. He was responsible for ironmaking research at Skippers Lane, Forest House and Ladgate Lane in Middlesbrough, prior to moving to Grangetown Laboratories. 

His early work involved him in sinter plant and blast furnace operations at Scunthorpe and Workington, and he had a major input into the design of Redcar Blast Furnace and supporting sinter and coking plant operation. In 1992, Fred was appointed Research Programme Manager to co-ordinate research work with the various works’ contacts, a position in which his excellent communication skills were key. 

Fred, for many years, was an active member of the European Ironmaking Research Committee, eventually becoming a well respected Chairman of this Committee for several years. As such, he not only ensured ECSC Research Projects progressed successfully but also that British Steel Projects were well funded. Consequently, he played a prominent role on the organising committee for the European Ironmaking Congress at Glasgow. He retired from British Steel in 1999, but continued to appraise ECSC projects as a consultant. 

He was elected to the Council of the Cleveland Institution of Engineers in 1993, and was President for the 1997/8 season. His lecture programme was varied, covering plastics, lightweight vehicles, aircraft technical development, ceramics, transportation and communication, and the future of engineering. Even from a modern perspective, Fred’s programme was very forward-looking, containing many topics that are still relevant today.

After his retirement from British Steel, Fred founded Traice Marketing, a company that had many interests, from greetings cards to heart monitors and property rental. If you wanted to know anything at all, if Fred didn’t know himself, then he knew someone who did. His hobbies and interests were many and varied, reflecting his gregarious personality. He played rugby at University for the first 15, and was awarded University colours. He continued playing rugby after graduating, and was vice-president of Darlington rugby club, where he was involved for many years.

He also loved the Castle Players at Barnard Castle and his expertise and communication skills were invaluable to the Company where he was a former Chairman and Director, and up to a couple of weeks before his death, Marketing Manager. He was a Past President of the Darlington and Teesdale Naturalists Field Club, belonged to The Friends of the Bowes Museum and the Friends of the Georgian Theatre at Richmond (N Yorks), and was a Guide at Raby Castle during the summer seasons of June 2009 to early August 2013. 

For several years he had also been co-opted by Durham County Council in a marketing role to promote the Durham Brass Band Festival. A couple of years ago, Fred completed a course at Skillshare in Hartlepool. He really enjoyed the course and afterwards felt that they needed some help and so ended up becoming a Director there, too. Apart from all this he helped a number of community and nature groups in Newton Aycliffe, where he lived, and even planted a herb garden for one organisation.

Fred leaves a wife, three daughters, and five grandsons. He will be greatly missed by them and the many community groups and business contacts with whom he was involved.