Robert (Bob) E. McAdams, 81, of Scottsdale, Ariz., passed away on June 1, 2013 of natural causes. He was born in Burlington, N.C. and graduated from Elon College (now University) in 1957. He lived in Houston, Texas, for more than 40 years before returning to live in Elon in 2005, and finally settling in Scottsdale, Ariz., after the death of his beloved wife in 2011.
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Survivors include his son Ed McAdams of Scottsdale, Ariz.; grandchildren Jillian and Stephen McAdams of San Antonio, Texas, Noah and Nathan Elmer of Seabrook, Texas; and great granddaughter, Hailey Paige Elmer of Seabrook, Texas. He leaves nephews, nieces, great-nieces and great-nephews that were all very dear to him.
He was preceded in death by his wife of 59 years, Edna P. McAdams; daughters Margaret Anne McAdams and Suzanne Paige McAdams Elmer; and sisters Sylvia Kaye McAdams and Patricia A. Pettigrew.
Bob had a distinguished career as an aerospace engineer working for NASA and Rockwell for almost 30 years and was a veteran of the United States Air Force. He was most proud of being awarded the Presidential National Medal of Freedom by President Nixon for his work in the rescue of Apollo 13, as he developed one of the key contingency plans that brought the crew back to Earth for a safe landing. When being interviewed about the Apollo 13 event he said, "I can't remember a more intense three days than those spent on the Apollo 13 rescue." He started his career with the Gemini program, was in mission control when the U.S. landed the first man on the moon, and continued working through the Space Shuttle Program until retirement. He published numerous papers throughout his distinguished career, as he was the head of Vehicle Dynamics for NASA, and considered one of the leading trajectory experts in the industry.
Once retired, he enjoyed his life traveling with his wife Edna, the love of his life; spending time with his grandchildren, and he always enjoyed visiting friends and family throughout the country.
Visitation for family and friends will be held at the Rich & Thompson Mortuary in Burlington, N.C. on Friday, June 7, 2013 from 9:30 to 10:45 a.m.
The funeral service will be conducted at the Rich & Thompson Chapel in Burlington, N.C. on Friday, June 7, 2013 at 11 a.m. The interment will follow the service at Alamance Memorial Park.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the
, as Bob was a cancer survivor (www.cancer.org).
Online condolences may be made at www.richandthompson.com
Rich and Thompson Funeral and Cremation Service
306 Glenwood Ave. Burlington, NC 27215
Published in TheTimesNews.com from June 4 to June 5, 2013