Robert West Lundeen

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Robert West Lundeen of Orcas Island, Wash., died peacefully in his sleep April 13, 2016 after a brief illness. He was 94 years old.

Robert is survived by three children, John W. "Jack" Lundeen of Lake Oswego, Ore., Peter B. Lundeen of Grand Rapids, Mich., and Nancy P. Lundeen of Seattle, Wash; five grandchildren, David M. Lundeen, Erika K. Kelley, Geoffrey A. Lundeen, Kirsten W. Lundeen and Elizabeth A. Lundeen; and four great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his wife of 55 years, Betty C. Lundeen (née Anderson); and his brother, John C. "Jack" Lundeen.

Bob, as he was often known, was born June 25, 1921 in Astoria, Ore., to Arthur R. and Margaret F. Lundeen (née West). He and his brother grew up in the small town of Westport, Ore., where their father worked for the lumber company and their mother, who had been a schoolteacher, was instrumental in starting the local library. In his later years, Bob delighted in taking his children and grandchildren on a "roots tour" of Westport to show them his humble beginnings.

After graduating as one of seven students in his high school class, Bob attended Oregon State University (then Oregon State College) from 1938 to 1942, and graduated with a degree in Chemical Engineering. He and his wife Betty met in their first class on their very first day at OSC, and they were married in Lake Oswego, Ore., Dec. 26, 1942. After Pearl Harbor, Bob enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps and was sent to the University of Chicago for an accelerated course in weather forecasting. After completing his training, Bob was assigned to the 10th Weather Squadron in China, where he forecast weather for U.S. planes flying "over the hump" from India.

Over the course of the war, Bob became the squadron's operations officer, reached the rank of Major, and earned a Bronze Star for his service. Upon returning from China in 1946, Bob was reunited with Betty, who had spent the war as a radio broadcaster in Eureka, Calif. The young couple established a home in Concord, Calif., where their three children were born. Bob began his 40 year career with The Dow Chemical Co. as a research and development engineer in Pittsburg, Calif. The family then moved to Midland, Mich., where Bob worked for Dow Chemical International.

In 1966, Bob was appointed President of Dow Pacific, and Bob, Betty, and daughter Nancy relocated to Hong Kong, where they spent an enjoyable 12 years. Bob and Betty lived a brief period of time in Coral Gables, Fla. while directing Dow Latin America. The family then moved back to Midland, when Bob was appointed Executive Vice President of Dow Chemical in 1978. He was named Chairman of the Board in 1982, and retired from Dow in 1986.

He and Betty then moved to Washington state, to settle in a home that they had built on Orcas Island. In retirement, they enjoyed sailing on their boat, the Blue Dragon, crabbing with the grandchildren and making the famous Lundeen Swedish pancakes for the Tennis Club. They continued to travel the world with multiple trips to the Orient and Europe.

As Betty said, Bob "flunked retirement" because after leaving Dow he continued to serve on the Board of Directors of Tektronix Inc., and became the company's acting chairman from 1987 to 1991, at which point he retired for a second time. Bob was passionate about supporting higher education and giving back to the community, whether in the form of knowledge and expertise or through philanthropy. He was extremely active in a number of organizations that were very important to him including the Kettering Foundation, the Monterey Bay Aquarium, the Monterey Institute of International Studies, the Orcas Island Community Foundation, the Oregon State University Foundation and the University of Washington School of Medicine. In 2006, he was honored with a Lifetime Trustee Award from Oregon State University, where he played a leading role in the Valley Library Campaign and established several scholarships.

Bob was cremated and consistent with his wishes there will be no funeral. An Open House will be held in Summer 2016 on Orcas Island for his friends and family to gather and celebrate his life. The family believes that Bob would be delighted if those wishing to acknowledge his life would make a contribution to one of his favorite "targets" of philanthropy, such as the Orcas Island Community Foundation, Prune Alley, Eastsound, Wash., 98245, Oregon State University Foundation, 850 SW 35th St., Corvallis, Ore., 97333, or the University of Washington School of Medicine, University of Washington Foundation, Box 359505, Seattle, Wash., 98195.

Published in Midland Daily News on Apr. 24, 2016
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