Robert Phillip Hubbard
1943 - 2019
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Dr. Robert (Bob) P. Hubbard, born 6/8/43, died 2/5/19 from complications of Parkinson's Disease at age 75.

Bob was a father and mentor to many and a friend to all. He laughed and cried easily and loved deeply. He liked to design and build things, listen to music, sing, run, sail, ski, scuba dive and boast about his children. Of his many accomplishments he was most proud of his family. Bob embodied integrity and generosity. He was kind, compassionate, curious and always ready to have a meaningful conversation. He enjoyed frequent trips up north to the cottage on Lake Michigan as well as camping in many National Parks with his family.

Bob is survived by his wife of 52 years, JoAnn; his twin children Matt Hubbard (Martha Fowler) and Cristin Miller (Billy Miller); his brother Bill Hubbard (Bonnie Hubbard); and his grandchildren Dean Hubbard, Lila Miller and Ivy Miller.

After graduating with an engineering degree from Duke University in 1965, Bob completed a PhD in theoretical and applied mechanics at the University of Illinois. In the 1970s he worked for General Motors, studying crash-related injuries and developing early crash-test dummy technology.

Bob invented the life-saving Head And Neck Support device that revolutionized motorsports safety and has been called the most important safety advance since the seatbelt. He developed the HANS in the 1980s in collaboration with brother-in-law and championship driver Jim Downing. Countless racers around the world avoid injury or worse by using this device. The HANS and related artifacts will be installed in the Smithsonian Museum in 2021. Honoring his pioneering work in racing safety, Bob received the inaugural (2016) SAE John Melvin Motorsport Safety Award and many other accolades.
Bob was a Professor of bio-mechanical engineering at Michigan State University from 1977 until 2006. He was an active supporter of student learning and research and received the Distinguished Faculty Award in 2005. Bob's passion for innovation was evident in his creation of a class that still brings together engineering and marketing students in the field of biomechanics. In addition, he was a consultant for NASA.

A Celebration of Life will be held Sunday, February 24th at 2 PM at Edgewood United Church UCC (469 N. Hagadorn, East Lansing, MI 48823) where Bob was an active member and leader for over 40 years.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Re-Member (https://, a nonprofit organization on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota that works to improve the quality of reservation life through relationships, shared resources and volunteer services.

The family is being served by Gorsline Runciman Funeral Home, East Chapel, East Lansing.

Memories and condolences may be shared at

The following are obituaries listed for Bob noting his great achievements in the engineering field:

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Published in Gorsline Runciman Funeral Homes on Feb. 7, 2019.
Celebration of Life
02:00 PM
Memories & Condolences
Guest Book sponsored by Gorsline Runciman Funeral Homes
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3 entries
February 22, 2019
Dr Hubbard was my Mechanics professor. He had such passion for engineering and education and he shared that enthusiasm with all. I remember him showing me his lab with a herd of fellow students and he told us why he worked on what he did and the problems he was solving. He was one of the best men I ever had the pleasure of knowing.
Therese (Sutphen) Kline
February 21, 2019
Dr. Bob was one of the kindest, most humble men I ever met. His HANS invention saved hundreds of lives and changed motor sport forever but it never changed his caring, giving attitude and his attempts to help people. RIP Dr. Bob.
Gary Milgrom
February 17, 2019
My heartfelt sympathies for the loss of your loved one. Sometimes words can be so hard to come by. May the Lord of peace give you peace.
2 Thessalonians 3:16
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