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CAPTAIN ROBERT LEE WESSEL


1919 - 2013 | Obituary Condolences
CAPTAIN ROBERT LEE WESSEL Obituary
Wessel, Captain Robert Lee (USN Ret), passed away in his home in Laguna Hills, California on November 16, 2013 at the age of 94. Bob was born in Fresno, California on June 20, 1919. He grew up on a farm in Clovis, California where he and his family raised pigs, chickens and cows. He graduated from Clovis High School and then attended the University of California at Berkeley. He graduated from UC Berkeley with a degree in electrical engineering in 1941. While at UC Berkeley he also participated on the Cal Swim Team. Bob joined the Navy in November 1941 as a Lieutenant and was stationed in the Solomon Islands during WWII commanding a squadron of PT boats. Bob went on to serve on the U.S.S. Perry, U.S.S. Evans, U.S.S. Toledo, U.S.S. Rochester, and was Captain of the U.S.S. Shields, a Fletcher Class destroyer. During the war Captain Wessel received numerous commendations his bravery and courage. In 1962, Captain Wessel decided to take shore positions. He was the Officer in Charge, Research and Development Group, Defense Atomic Support Agency, at Lawrence Livermore Laboratories, Livermore, California from 1963 - 1967; and then as Commanding Officer, Naval Weapons Center/Corona Laboratories, Corona, California from 1967 - 1969. Captain Wessel retired from the Navy in 1969 and moved his family to Mountain View, California where he managed programs for defensive weapon systems at Lockheed Space and Missile Company. He retired from Lockheed in 1980. Bob married Virginia Dawn Wagner in 1945 and remained married to her until her death in 1994. They had two children, Deborah Dawn and Robert Lee Jr. Bob and Virginia liked to spend summers at their vacation home at Bass Lake, California where Bob enjoyed working in their yard and swimming in the lake. After failing health, Bob moved to Southern California in 2003 where he resided in Leisure World's Rossmoor Tower in Laguna Woods, California. Bob lived a long, illustrious life and he positively impacted the lives of his family and so many others in many different ways. Bob was an intelligent, courageous, and remarkable man. He was funny, honorable, and a loyal loving husband, father and grandfather. Bob is survived by his daughter, Dawn Wessel of Vista, California; son, Bob Wessel Jr. of Laguna Hills, California; daughter-in-law, Molly Wessel, and their two children Kaitlin and Courtney Wessel.




Published in Orange County Register on Jan. 5, 2014
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