Robert Rood Chambers

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May 23, 1923 - April 7, 2014 Robert R. Chambers passed away peacefully at home in Studio City, CA surrounded by his family. In his 90 years, Bob combined a sunny Western-plains optimism with a boundless curiosity, keen intelligence and energetic nature to fashion a life of high achievement across a wide range of pursuits. Bob was born in Lincoln, NE on May 23, 1923 to Guy C. Chambers and Grace Rood Chambers. As a child with asthma, he spent summers in the clear air of the Rocky Mountains where he developed a life-long love of backpacking and the outdoors. He attended school in Lincoln, graduating from Lincoln High School. In 1944, he received an A.B. from the University of Nebraska, Lincoln with a major in Chemistry. He went on to receive his Ph.D. from the University of Illinois, Urbana in 1947 in Organic Chemistry, and later earned a J.D. from DePaul University (1951). He began a 35-year career in the oil industry in 1947 and shortly thereafter married Martha Wayne, with whom he had three children. Bob worked as Technical Manager of Sinclair Oil Research in Harvey IL, starting in 1959. In 1965 he married Clytia Capraro Montllor and moved to New York to become a corporate Vice President in 1967. In the early 1970s, when Sinclair merged with Atlantic Richfield (ARCO), he became President of their NUMEC (Apollo PA) subsidiary, a major processor of nuclear fuel. Bob turned the company around financially and engineered its sale. He continued as an ARCO executive based in Los Angeles in the 1970s. He ran their New Business Ventures division, investing in start-up companies with major technology and business potential, including ARCO Solar, a pioneer in photovoltaic cell manufacture. Bob's retirement from ARCO in 1981 freed him to focus on his many interests: developing new businesses, philosophy, writing, farming and family. In 1982, he founded a medical instrument company, Sandhill Scientific, which was sold in 2013. He purchased land in San Diego County and developed some of the acreage into farms producing flowers and exotic fruits. He had been active on the board of the California Rare Fruit Growers for many years and was an expert on the white sapote, a fruit he championed through articles, talks, and scion exchanges. His interest in philosophy resulted in a book, Political Theory and Societal Ethics published in 1992, and in the endowed Robert R. Chambers Chair in Philosophy at the University of Nebraska. He was preceded in death by Clytia Chambers, his wife of 42 years, and is survived by their combined family of six children and step-children: Anne Chambers (Ed McAlpine), Guy Chambers, Carl Chambers, Michele Montllor (David Nelson), Tom Montllor (Robin Rogers), and Clytia Montllor Curley (Joe). He is also survived by his grandchildren Henry and Sam McAlpine, Robbie and Ryan Chambers, and Nora Curley. We mourn his passing, but celebrate a long, full, and vibrant life. His amazing memory, detailed and fun stories, and charming smile will be dearly missed. Bob's marked independence of mind, strong personal magnetism, and open easy-going manner positively and powerfully influenced the lives of those privileged to know and love him. Donations in his memory may be made to the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. A memorial service will be held at a future date.
Published in the Los Angeles Times from Apr. 11 to Apr. 13, 2014
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