ROBERT H. TWYFORD
On January 31, 2013, Robert Hull Twyford, 80, died peacefully after a long illness at the Residences at Thomas Circle in Washington, DC. Bob grew up in Gallatin, TN and graduated from Castle Heights Military Academy. He received his BS in Mechanical Engineering from Vanderbilt University. Serving in the Army from 1956-58, he worked on rocket development under Werner Von Braun. In the late fifties he was on the staff of Atlantic Research Corporation in Northern VA. Independently, he designed and patented a typewriter device called Typit for foreign language and technical keyboard use. Bob saw the importance of the emergence of computers and, flying home from his honeymoon in September of 1963 with his new wife, the former Suzanne Bailey, he taught himself the binary code. His invention of Typit became the springboard for the founding of his company, Mechanical Enterprises, which designed and manufactured other products for typewriters. In 1990, Mechanical Enterprises was reincorporated as Datalux, a company now run by his son Rob and headquartered in Winchester, VA. The company designs, manufactures and assembles computing products for healthcare and public safety. Bob was awarded many patents for inventions related to computers and switches. Until 2012, he lived in Great Falls, VA, in the house where he and his wife Suzanne lived for almost 40 years and raised their two children. Along with his work, Bob's passions were tennis and flying. He was active in the tennis program at Great Falls Swim and Tennis Club; and owned several different airplanes which he flew for business and on wonderful family trips. In addition to his wife, he is survived by a daughter from his first marriage, Maleita Twyford of San Leandro, CA and a son and daughter from his almost 50-year marriage to Suzanne, Robert Jr. of Waterford, VA, and Holly of Washington, D.C. He was "Grandy" to his three grandchildren. Audrey and Maxwell Twyford and Helena Mooney-Twyford were much loved by him. He particularly enjoyed swimming in his and Suzanne's Great Falls pool. Bob will be remembered for his warm smile, his wonderful sense of humor and his tremendous generosity. A gathering of family and friends will be held at a later date.
Published in The Washington Post on Feb. 10, 2013.