Obituaries

Robert Spencer Symons

RobertSpencerSymons onlineRobert Spencer Symons passed away on May 10, 2020, at the age of 94, in Los Altos, California. Robert was born in San Francisco on July 3, 1925, the son of the late Spencer Wesley and Avesia (Atkins) Symons. He graduated from Palo Alto High School and went on to receive a Bachelor of Science from Stanford University in 1946 and a Master of Science, also from Stanford University, in 1948. He was a member of both Phi Beta Kappa and Tau Beta Pi. As an undergraduate, he was the editor of The Chaparral, the Stanford humor magazine. Following graduation, Robert served as a Lieutenant in the Army Corps of Engineers during World War II. He married Alice Faye Smith, the love of his life, in North Carolina on December 21, 1960. They enjoyed spending time with friends and traveling the world together. During his career as an electrical engineer, he worked as senior engineering manager at Varian Associates in Palo Alto from 1950-1983 and then as technical director of Litton Industries in San Carlos from 1983 until his retirement in 1995. After his retirement he was often requested as a consultant in his areas of expertise. He was a fellow and associate editor of the IEEE.

Robert was a prolific inventor who was responsible for numerous patents and published papers. In 2010 he won an Emmy Award for his invention of the “Constant Efficiency Amplifier,” a contribution that helped make high definition television a reality. Robert was known for his intelligence, keen wit, kindness and integrity.  He is survived by his wife of 59 years, Alice Faye Symons. He is also survived by their two children, Robert and Julia, and four grandchildren. Due to the pandemic, the family will be having a small, private celebration of his life on July 4th weekend. On July 3rd, he would have been 95 years old.