Robert Dudley Hunsucker, age 83, went home to his Lord at his home in Marshall, Minn., on Jan. 9, 2014. He was born March 15, 1930, in Portland, Ore., the only son of Robert Deets Hunsucker and Johnnie Morris (Kuykendal) Hunsucker.
Robert attended Sunnyside Grade School and Benson Polytechnic High School in Portland. He graduated from Vanport Junior College in 1952 and Oregon State in 1954 with degrees in electrical engineering and physics. Robert became fascinated with radio at an early age, becoming a licensed radio amateur in high school. He maintained his ham license for the rest of his life operating in Oregon, Alaska and Colorado. He also was a DJ at several AM radio stations during his high school and college years.
In 1956 Robert married Judith Mary Cotter. They had three daughters, Edith Louise, Jeanne Marie and Cynthia Lee. Judith died in 1980 after a courageous 10-year battle with M.S.
Robert began his long association with the Geophysical Institute in Fairbanks in 1958 as a research associate studying high-latitude propagation. In 1964, he joined the C.R.P. Laboratory in Boulder, Colo., where he was involved in backscatter research and early investigations of over-the-horizon radar, as well as earning his Ph.D. through the University of Colorado. Robert returned to the University of Alaska and the GI in 1971, where he pursued a variety of radio propagation and ionospheric research projects, often flying his own small plane to remote arctic field sites. He was one of the early experimenters at the Poker Flat Research Range and the Chatanika Incoherent-Scatter Radar Facility. An authority on radio propagation, radio sensing of the ionosphere, and the effects of atmospheric gravity waves on the ionosphere, he authored more than 100 research papers, a text on radio remote sensing, and coauthored a text on the high-latitude ionosphere. Robert also spent nineteen years in the U.S. Navy and Naval Reserve, including two years as an active duty officer.
In July 1981, he married Phyllis Marie Hoover. In January 1988 he retired from the University of Alaska Geophysical Institute and was appointed Professor Emeritus of Physics and Electrical Engineering in June 1988. From 1988 until 1995 he was a part-time Senior Consultant with the GI, and with his wife, Phyllis, worked in radio propagation research at RP Consultants at their home in Fairbanks, continuing after their move to Klamath Falls, Ore.
Robert enjoyed hunting, fishing, camping, photography and flying his own airplane during his 30 years in Alaska and published articles and poems in various Alaska publications. He thoroughly enjoyed his three daughters, 14 grandchildren and six great-grandchildren. During his last few years, his major hobbies were reading and writing. Among his favorite authors were C.S. Lewis and St. Augustine. He found comfort and strength reading the greatest book, the Bible. His faith in God was bolstered in hard times through the devotional "Morning & Evening" by Charles Spurgeon, a gift from his dear friend, Cleve. His sense of humor was tickled by Walt Kelly's Pogo. Reading about and researching WWII naval history was one of his favorite activities.
Robert spent his last months living with his daughter Jeanne and husband James Vanderwaal. He is survived by his wife, Phyllis; his three daughters; Edith Snider and husband, John, of Yorba Linda, Calif.; Jeanne Vanderwaal and husband, James, of Marshall, Minn.; Cynthia Weis and husband, Steve, of Winter Springs, Fla.; and his 14 grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.
Robert will be buried with military honors at 2:30 p.m. Feb. 14, 2014, at Willamette National Cemetery in Portland. A memorial gathering will follow from 4-7 p.m. at Hinson Baptist Church.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made in his memory to the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Contributions may be made online at www.uaf.edu/giving/gift
; please note "In Memory of Robert Hunsucker." For additional information please contact the UAF Development Office at 474-2619.
More information at: www.spacenv.com/~rice/rdhunsucker.html
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Published by Daily News-Miner on Jan. 27, 2014.