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9/16/17

Death of a Classmate - Robert Donald MacArthur




Robert Donald MacArthur, 87, of Chula Vista, passed peacefully on September 2nd while with his family. Bob was the son of Donald MacArthur and Edith (nee) Slocum, and was born in Portland, OR on December 4, 1929. He grew up in Burlingame, CA with one younger brother, Tom. After graduating from high school, with encouragement from his uncle, Bob joined the Navy and was designated as an electronics technician. His aptitude was quickly recognized, and he was selected to attend the Naval Academy, where he spent the next three years studying mechanical engineering. While a midshipman, Bob was introduced to the love of his life, Nancy Palmer, who lived in Waban, MA at the time. In August of 1953 they were married in Reno, NV. Unable to continue at Annapolis after being married, Bob and Nancy moved to Boston and worked to put each other through school – Bob at M.I.T. and Nancy at Tufts. They had many entertaining stories about some of the tough neighborhoods they lived in and jobs they had to earn extra money. After college Bob and Nan moved to Dearborn MI, where he worked at his first job as an engineer, at Ford Motors. They soon moved west to Antioch, CA, where he spent the next ten years as a machine design engineer at Crown Zellerbach paper company. While in Antioch, Bob and Nan adopted two children, Donald, in 1959, and Madeline in 1963. The family enjoyed sailing in the boat Bob built in his garage, and trips to visit his mom who lived in the redwoods of Felton, CA. Bob also bought his first motorcycle, which became a life-long passion. In 1967 Bob accepted a position at Eastman Kodak in Rochester, NY and the family would discover the fun (and not so fun) of snow. He was involved with many innovative projects and took great pride and satisfaction from his years at Kodak. He was an excellent tennis player and was always well ranked in his league. He also enjoyed golf, and was a little league umpire, as well as other ventures in support of his family's activities. Bob retired from Kodak in 1990 and worked part time for a year and a half at R.P. Fedder, an air filtration company. A particular point of pride for Bob was a patent he was awarded for a moisture separation valve. He had been a part of many patented projects, but this was the first one that had his name on it. After fully retiring, he and Nan liked to travel especially to visit their kids. At one point or another they hit every corner of the country and most points in between. They rarely traveled by air, enjoying the freedom and scenery of the open road. Sometimes on motorcycle, sometimes car, they had many great adventures seeing our country. Bob continued to ride a full sized Harley until he was 76. When he could no longer handle the big bike, Nan bought him a Corvette for his 77th birthday and they continued to travel in style. He also enjoyed several sailing adventures with Nan's brother David, in and around Cape Cod. Bob was a member of Mensa and looked forward to the monthly activities with that group of friends in Rochester. Bob and Nan moved to Fredericka Manor in Chula Vista in 2014. He enjoyed making new friends and sharing in the activities there, including stories group, dominoes, Braille Institute classes, and good conversation at dining room meals. He is survived by his loving wife of 64 years, Nancy; a son, Donald (Betty) of Imperial Beach, CA; a daughter, Madeline (Thomas) of St. Petersburg, FL; and nieces and nephews across the country. A celebration of life will be held at the Fredericka Manor fellowship hall (183 3rd Ave., Chula Vista) at 6:30 PM on September 22, 2017. The family asks that in lieu of any flowers guests make a donation to their favorite charity.


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