Robert Stetson
1928 - 2021
BORN
1928
DIED
2021
Robert Stetson
October 20, 1928 - March 23, 2021
San Diego
Bob was born in NYC, into an eccentric family who shared apartments as they moved throughout the Bronx, Queens, and Manhattan. His father played the violin and banjo, his aunt Irene was a Ziegfeld dancer and his grandmother had the title of World's Fastest Telegrapher. His sister, Peggy, was just 1-1/2 years older. His mother had chronic health problems and died when Bob was 13. His father was critical and non-supportive, so Bob strove forward to support himself from an early age, working as a foot messenger for J Walter Thompson at age 12 and later as a lumberjack in upstate NY. He joined the Army Air Corp and proudly served in the WWII Army occupation of Germany during the Nuremberg Trials. After the war, Bob moved to Ellwood City, PA, met his wife of 43 years, Rita Jubach, and began working in the Babcock and Wilcox steel tube mill in Beaver Falls. While Rita worked doing drafting drawings at the Mill, she encouraged Bob to attend night school to obtain certification as a metallurgy specialist. When they learned they were expecting their only child, their intrepid natures led them to move to San Diego, CA in 1958. With his steel mill experience and training, Bob was hired by General Dynamics, and then General Atomics (GA), where he spent a long career working in research in materials engineering. Bob greatly enjoyed his work and his colleagues, as well as his involvement with the American Society of Metals (ASM). He was a continuous member from 1953 on and attended his final meeting via webinar a month before his passing. He was named an ASM Fellow in 1983, for participation in development of implantable heart valves, melting techniques for nuclear fuel materials and preparation and analysis of nuclear power plant materials. He served as San Diego ASM Chapter Chairman 1972-73, on the San Diego Council of Engineering Societies Executive Board 1974-75, and on the Institute for Certified Engineering Technicians Board of Trustees 1979-84. Through his ASM Society participation, Bob helped to elevate the status of engineering technicians. He was awarded the ASM National Engineering Associates Award in 1979. His contributions include work on the nuclear propulsion program on Project Orion, the TRIGA and HTGR reactor programs, collaboration in the first successful post-operation removal and metallurgical evaluation of HTGR components at the decommissioned reactor in Peach Bottom, PA and the Lithium Module Project for Princeton University's Fusion Reactor Program. His patented Plasma Arc Welding Tip was recognized as one of the outstanding achievements of 1979 in welding design and engineering by James F. Lincoln Arc Welding Foundation. Following retirement, Bob served as an adviser for the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center and was a docent at the Scripps Aquarium. Bob was known for his many technical contributions, which included seeing details and possible problems in a test project; whether for work or a home project, he would always offer a solution. Bob's friends and colleagues will remember him for his consistent curiosity, creativity, engagement, and conscientious follow-through and his endless supply of engaging stories about his life experiences. He and Rita loved going to La Jolla Shores and Pacific Beach, day trips to Julian and working in their backyard garden. They treasured exploring the outdoors with their daughter Barbara, especially camping trips at Cuyamaca and Palomar and visits to Yosemite. Rita passed away in 1994 following a long illness. Bob joined a widow-widowers support group, where he met Mary McKinney. They were married from 1999 until her passing in 2019. Bob enjoyed participating in social events and lectures and valued his close bonds with residents and staff at St. Paul's Villa, where he and Mary resided in recent years. Bob is survived by his daughter Barbara Stetson, son-in-law Paul DeMarco, grandchildren Joseph and Rosemary DeMarco, step-daughter-in-law Sharon McKinney and her partner Richard Pepper, nephew and niece Bob and Mary Jubach and many friends and colleagues with whom he remained in touch on a regular basis. The family is grateful for the love and support of the staff at St. Paul's Villa. A celebration of Bob's Life will be held on Friday, May 14, in 2 separate, socially, distanced events at 9:45 am and 10:30 am at St. Paul's Villa and live on Zoom. To RSVP and for information about in-person and Zoom participation, email [email protected] To support Bob's lifelong love of learning and belief in the importance of educational opportunities for those who had early challenges, the family is developing a memorial scholarship for diverse, adult learners. For information regarding contributions, contact [email protected]
Published by San Diego Union-Tribune on May 11, 2021.
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MEMORIAL EVENTS
May
14
Celebration of Life
9:45a.m.
St. Paul's Villa
CA
May
14
Celebration of Life
10:30a.m.
St. Paul's Villa
CA
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4 Entries
Bob was always a source of information and good cheer in the Materials and Chemistry Division at General Atomics. Bob solved many difficult materials problems over the years. He will be missed.
James Watson
Coworker
May 22, 2021
I was Group Sales Coordinator at the Birch Aquarium and Bob was a docent that I scheduled to lead tours of the aquarium. It was a pleasure working with him. I remember he told me he was the jeep driver for Colonel Sparks when they liberated Dachau, reminding me it looked nothing like it looks today. May God's blessings be with you at this time.
Sharon Laabs
Friend
May 14, 2021
Conversations with Bob were an opportunity to learn. He probed and revealed. Sharing history of work, experiences and accomplishments will be truly missed. Good memories will continue. My very best and comfort to Bob’s family at this time of sadness. Farewell Bob, your friend and colleague, Paul Trester
Paul W. Trester
Coworker
May 14, 2021
It all began when we received a huge envelope of Stetson ancestry from a cousin we didn’t know we had. The fact that Bob and Jack resemble each other seemed to delight him. Since then we’ve thoroughly enjoyed listening to him tell of his amazing life, all done with a “I guess they kinda liked me” way. Such an inspiration!
Carol and Jack Stetson
May 13, 2021
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