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Lester Roberts

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Lester Alaric Roberts

July 31, 1925-February 28, 2013

Les Roberts, beloved husband, father, scientist, musician, friend and generous contributor to his community, died at home of multiple myeloma on February 28, 2013. He grew up in Santa Barbara and spent his adult life in Palo Alto.

His contribution to science and engineering spanned several decades. He earned his PhD in electrical engineering from Stanford University in 1951 and designed high-efficiency traveling wave tubes still used today in deep space probes.

Later he created technology for cochlear implants, angioplasty systems and high-speed DNA synthesizers. At his death, he was an R&D engineer at the Stanford Genome Technology Center.

This multi-faceted man also raised six children, explored the California wilderness, played the flute, loved music, fed the homeless in Palo Alto, maintained many friendships, traveled extensively and read voraciously. We will miss his intelligence, humor and youthful enthusiasm for life.

He is survived by his wife of 64 years, Barbara Kirn Roberts, his children Susan Roberts-Manganelli (Sauro Manganelli), Anne Roberts, Stephen Roberts, Paul Roberts (Josie), Cynthia Roberts McCabe (Dan) and Jan Roberts Silk (Kevin), and 12 grandchildren. His grandson Gianmaria Manganelli predeceased him.

Donations in his memory may be made online to the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation.

Published in San Francisco Chronicle on Mar. 10, 2013