Memorial service
Sunday, Jan. 20, 2019
2:00 PM
Bellevue Presbyterian Church
Bellevue, WA
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Robert Kirk Whitford

1930 - 2018 Obituary Condolences
Robert Kirk Whitford Obituary
Robert Kirk Whitford

Dr. Robert K. Whitford (88) died on December 11, 2018, at Evergreen Hospice Center due to idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), a rare lung disease.

Bob was born July 30, 1930, in Rochester, NY to Ralph and Edna (Kirk) Whitford. He graduated from Rochester High School, and earned a BS, MS and Ph.D. in electrical engineering from Purdue University.

Bob married Suzanne (Sue) Park in 1952. Together they raised seven children. Sue died in 1998 a week after their 46th wedding anniversary. In 2007, Bob married Kathryn Stephens, who survives.

In 1955, Bob joined TRW in Redondo Beach, CA where he held executive management positions in advanced electronic systems, space shuttle avionics, guidance and control operations. During his 17-year career at TRW, Bob was involved with major aerospace systems including NASA's manned space flight programs.

In 1972, Bob was appointed Deputy Director of the Cambridge, MA, Transportation Systems Center, U.S. Department of Transportation, and later held the position of Acting Director of the Center. In 1978, Bob joined the faculty of Purdue University where he taught civil and transportation engineering until his retirement in 2002.

Bob co-authored the Fundamentals of Transportation Engineering textbook and wrote numerous professional articles. He received a number of awards and honors, including being named a Distinguished Engineering Alumnus by Purdue University in 1972.

Bob was very active in the Presbyterian Church (USA) serving as a Sunday school teacher, an elder, a member of the General Assembly Mission Council and a commissioner to the 184th General Assembly. Additionally, Bob led Bible studies wherever he lived, and served as a Commissioned Lay Pastor in the Presbytery of Alaska in Juneau.

Bob and Sue are survived by their seven children, Jim (Tammy) Whitford, Tom (Margaret) Whitford, Barbara (Bob) Schuster, Linda (Bradley) Longfield, Mary (Greg) McGehee, Nancy (Tom) Langschied, and John (Amy) Whitford; 14 grandchildren, and 7 great-grandchildren and his sister Betty Atkinson and many nieces and nephews. Also surviving are his wife, Kathryn, stepdaughter Kris (Steve) Taylor and two step grandchildren. Bob was also preceded in death by his parents and his sister Jean Whitford Benner.

A memorial service will be held at Bellevue Presbyterian Church in Bellevue, Washington on January 20, 2019, at 2:00 p.m. In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be given to the Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation or Habitat for Humanity.
Published in The Seattle Times on Jan. 13, 2019
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