Published on Wednesday, 29 April 2009 03:31
Written by Los Altos Town Crier
Died peacefully on March 21, 2009, age 86. Predeceased by his beloved wife Chella in 2003, and by his only son Douglas in February 2009. Survived by brothers Eldon (Vicky) of Michigan, Donald (Phyllis) of Florida, and Loren (Pat) of Massachusetts. Also survived by three daughters, in California: Margaret Lovetro and Patricia (Brad) Caftel, and, in Arizona: Susan (Doug) Rusk and granddaughter Lauren. Born on his grandparents' farm in Indiana, Bob learned early the values of working hard and building a strong character. His father had to struggle during the Depression to find work as a school teacher. So poor that he was literally a starving student, Bob attended Purdue University. The degree in electrical engineering he earned there provided him a long career as an engineer working for Sylvania in Pennsylvania, New York, and Mountain View, and then for Varian Associates in Palo Alto. During World War II, he worked on a top secret project that helped win the war, the proximity fuze. He became an expert in high power traveling wave tubes, and for most of his career specialized in satellite communications. His co-workers say he was always helpful, and he mentored many younger engineers. He was pleased to be mentioned in Norm Pond's book The Tube Guys. Bob lived in Los Altos for more than 50 years. He and Chella enjoyed traveling, and he was proud to have driven a car in all fifty states, plus Canada, Mexico, and Europe. Bob was very handy and could fix just about anything. He loved Big Band music and had a playful sense of humor. Donations appreciated to Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. At rest at Alta Mesa Memorial Park, Palo Alto. Arrangements by Colonial Mortuary, Mountain View.