Robert "Robby" Beyers
June 20, 1958 - April 12, 2021
On Monday, April 12th, 2021, Dr. Robby Beyers passed away at the age of 62 from complications of ALS.
Robby was born on June 20th in Ann Arbor, MI to Bob and Alice M. Beyers and grew up in the suburbs of Washington D.C. Being one of the most hard-working, intelligent, and stubborn people you'd ever meet, Robby worked his way to having five degrees: an MS, BS, and PHD from Stanford University and an MBA and JD from Santa Clara University.
For many years Robby worked as a material scientist at the IBM Almaden Research Center, years where, amongst other accomplishments, he co-invented single-wall carbon nanotubes and developed microscopy techniques which are now used throughout the semiconductor industry. His knowledge of material science leant itself well to his next career as a patent attorney, where he authored hundreds of patents, including the "iPhone Patent" (U.S. Patent No. 7,479,949) for the iPhone's user interface. As a partner at Morgan Lewis LLP he mentored over a hundred aspiring law students.
The job Robby loved most was being the unofficial photographer for the Stanford Marching Band. For over 40 years he captured the RTFO antics of Stanford University's famous scatter band. Even after his diagnosis of Lou Gehrig's Disease in 2018, Robby continued to work on new projects. Despite his growing paralysis, he photographed two more seasons for the band alongside his son Danny, wrote and published a self-help book, compiled decades of band shots into photo books, and even managed to travel across the country to visit his beloved summer home in Vermont. At the time of his death he was participating in an experimental brainwave mapping study through UC San Francisco which will aid future ALS patients and others by allowing computers to directly translate brainwaves into communication. His signature dry humor never wavered throughout his treatment and he was known to claim "ALS Privilege" whenever a situation arose that required him to get preferential attention or an extra serving of his beloved Ben & Jerry's ice cream.
Robby was preceded in death by his father, Bob. He leaves behind his mother Alice, wife Elena, sons Bobby and Danny, brother Bill, sister Amy and her husband Craig, nephews Kurtis, Kris and Nik, stepson Will, and countless friends, mentees, caregivers, coworkers and band members. Memorial services are being scheduled for June 2021 at the Stanford Band Shak--more details to follow.
Published by San Francisco Chronicle from Apr. 16 to Apr. 17, 2021.