Bob died Jan. 9, 2020, after living a year with an untreatable neurological disease. A tenacious man and an unfailing optimist, he accepted his situation and did what he could to keep his mind and body fit.

Bob was always good-mannered and well cultured, sometimes wearing a suit and tie in second grade, just because he liked to dress up. At Princeton he rowed lightweight crew and belonged to Cap and Gown. An electrical engineer who studied finance, Latin, and the classics, Bob earned a Ph.D. in magnetics from Carnegie Mellon. At CMU, he renamed himself Robert, ate a peanut-butter sandwich every day, and met his future wife, Irene. Lunches improved when they married and moved to San Jose, where he continued his career manufacturing disc drive heads with IBM, Maxtor, and Hitachi.

In San Jose, the Smiths joined St. Luke Lutheran Church, where Robert belonged to the Men’s Bible Study Group, a group of strong men who grilled hot dogs and talked about faith and life. He was also active in the YMCA’s father-daughter Indian Princess program, and loved camping trips with his daughters. He exercised every day at the YMCA, taking an Uber when he could no longer drive. In a wheelchair, he remained committed to exercise using the upper-body machines in the neighborhood park.

In his last days, Robert sat in silence, reading the Bible. Our condolences to Irene Skupniewicz Smith and their two daughters, and our thanks to Mark Gabrielson, who supported Bob until the end.

Undergraduate Class of 1978