Robert Eldon Stephenson|
Aug. 7, 1919 ~ Aug. 17, 2013
Robert Eldon Stephenson died on August 17, 2013, returning to his Heavenly Father, after a long life full of gentle and loving service.
Robert was born on August 7, 1919 in Nephi, Utah to Mary Hill and Robert Cobb Stephenson. He was the only child of their marriage. When Robert was five, his father passed away unexpectedly. Shortly thereafter his mother became very ill and spent the last two years of her life bedridden. Robert remembered her fondly, but had very few childhood memories of her. One tender memory that stayed with him was the day when she taught him to write his name from her sick bed. At the death of his mother when he was seven, he moved to Salt Lake City to live with his maternal grandparents, Thomas and Mary Leslie Hill. They had little money and upon the death of his grandfather, when Robert was 16 years old, his grandmother could no longer support him. His half-sister, Dorothy and her husband, Leland Alfred Boswell lovingly took him into their home. Dorothy and Lee were very encouraging to him. Realizing his academic talents, they urged him to attend the University of Utah. Through their encouragement and support he began his college studies, where he became a successful and enthusiastic electrical engineer and computer scientist, studying at Cal Tech University, University of California Berkeley and Purdue University, as well as the University of Utah. At about this time, two events intervened that would change his life. First, he joined the US Army while studying at the University of Utah and was in active service throughout World War II. He was a Captain at the conclusion of the war. His talents and skills in engineering served his country well. Secondly, in 1942, he married the beautiful Frances Reader Call in the Salt Lake Temple who was forever the love of his life. She traveled the country with him as he served in Texas, Ohio, Michigan, Connecticut, Georgia, Oklahoma and California. Their marriage was a happy one and they became and remained best friends forever.
After the war, he completed his Master's Degree at Cal Tech University and his Ph.D in Electrical Engineering at Purdue University. Robert eagerly accepted the opportunities at both Universities. Upon completing his studies, the family returned to Utah where Robert continued his teaching and research at the University of Utah. He spent time working and studying at Bell Laboratories, Sandia Laboratories and the Center for Advanced Studies Princeton. In 1961-62, Robert accepted a 2-year assignment for the US State Department to teach and establish an engineering program at Institute Technology Bandung in Bandung, Indonesia. From 1971-1986 he served as Associate Dean of the College of Engineering at the University of Utah. He authored two text books in Computer Simulation and Power Systems Analysis. However, his most prized professional memory is the love he had for his students and the opportunity he had of changing their lives.
Robert loved his family and adored his wife Frances. He has missed her greatly in the fifteen years since her passing. He has been a life-long faithful member of the LDS Church and has served in many callings including, Temple Worker, High Council Member, Gospel Doctrine Teacher and member of the Temple Square Mission Presidency. He loved teaching the gospel in many capacities. He taught best by his example.
Robert is survived by his four children: Jill (Mark) Greene, Robert Anson (Gaylyn Skola), Jane (David) Johnson, and Ned Eldon (Lisa Bradley); 18 grandchildren, 25 great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his wife, Frances; grandchildren: Julie Anne Goates, Brian Stephenson Greene, Robert Ryan Goates, Robert Arthur Stephenson and Caroline Clegg; and his half-sisters, Dorothy Boswell and Inez Baker.
Funeral services for Robert will be held on Wednesday, August 21, 2013 at 12:00 Noon at the Millcreek LDS Ward, 4220 South Jeannine Drive (420 East), Salt Lake City, UT. Family and friends are invited to a visitation on Tuesday evening from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Larkin Mortuary, 260 East South Temple, Salt Lake City, UT and at the church on Wednesday from 10:30 to 11:45 a.m. prior to the services. Interment will take place at the Salt Lake City Cemetery. Please leave online condolences for the family at www.larkinmortuary.com
Published in Deseret News from Aug. 20 to Aug. 21, 2013