Robert F. Painter

Robert F. Painter, 89, formerly of Erie, passed away peacefully on July 15, 2013. Bob was being visited by family members at Shell Point Retirement Community in Ft. Myers, Fla., at the time of his passing.

He was the first child of Glenn Forrest Painter and Anna Niklaus Painter.

Mr. Painter held a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from The Pennsylvania State University and a Master of Science degree from The Ohio State University. He founded the mechanical contracting and engineering business, United-Atkinson, Inc., in 1956, and served as its President until his retirement in 1984. Under Bob's leadership, United-Atkinson completed many significant engineering and construction projects throughout Pennsylvania, Ohio, and New York.

Mr. Painter served in the United States Army with the Pennsylvania 28th Infantry Division of the 110th Infantry Regiment, Company L, throughout France, Belgium, and Germany from 1944 to 1945. He received an honorable discharge with the rank of Corporal in 1946. Mr. Painter earned Battle Stars for Ardennes, Battle of the Bulge, and Colmar Pocket, and his unit was awarded the Croix de Guerre by Charles de Gaulle.

He was active in many community, service, fraternal, and professional organizations, including: First Presbyterian Church of the Covenant where he served as an usher, elder, and trustee; Erie Yacht Club where he served as Commodore; Presque Isle Rotary Club where he served as Secretary and President and is a Paul Harris Fellow; Zem Zem (Erie County, Pa.) Shrine of Shriner's International; The Grand Lodge of Free & Accepted Masons (Perry Lodge); Pennsylvania Society of Professional Engineers; and Triangle Fraternity.

Mr. Painter was preceded in death by his first child, John Forrest Painter of Virginia Beach, Va., and his sister, Janice Painter Reese of Erie, Pa. He is survived by his wife of 63 years, Martha Dean Painter, his son, James Dean Painter (Kathleen) of Pittsburgh, his daughter, Mary Painter Opitz (Christopher) of Virginia Beach, grandchildren, Carolyn Mae Painter, David Forrest Painter, Tara Louise Opitz, and Stephen Robert Opitz, and his brother, Douglas Parker Painter (Joann) of Erie.

Bob loved cheering on his Penn State Nittany Lions, traveling to exciting locations around the globe including a trip to Antarctica, sailing on Lake Erie and in the Caribbean, and navigating the waterways of southwest Florida. He was a wonderful, loving husband, father, grandfather, brother, and friend. Bob's genuine compassion, Christian spirit, strong work ethic, and large grin will live in the hearts of his family and friends forever.

A memorial service for friends and family to celebrate Bob's life will be held at First Presbyterian Church of the Covenant, 250 W. 7th Street, Erie, Pa., on Saturday, August 10, at 11:00.

Memorial contributions may be made to Hope Hospice of Shell Point, Ft. Myers, Fla., and .

Arrangements handled by National Cremation and Burial Society.

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Published in the Erie Times-News on July 21, 2013