Robert W. Herr of Gloucester, retired NASA Aeronautical Research Engineer, died Saturday, Oct. 11, 2014, four days before his 89th birthday.
He was born in Indiana on Oct. 15, 1925, son of the late Lawrence and Mary Barnett Herr. Upon graduation from high school in 1943, he attended Tri State College in Indiana, receiving a Bachelor’s Degree in Aeronautical Engineering.
He earned a Private Pilot’s license while employed in the engineering department of Piper Aircraft Corporation in Lock Haven, Pa. It was in Lock Haven that he met the woman he would fall in love with, Doris Vivian Johnson. They were married in October 1946.
After World War II, he accepted a position in Hampton at NASA Langley Research Center in 1948, when NASA was still known as NACA (National Advisory Committee on Aeronautics).
During his early years with NACA, he conducted experimental and theoretical studies of the aero-elastic instabilities of aircraft wings. He later conducted experiments on models of the LEM (lunar excursion module) to determine its landing stability in the reduced lunar gravity field. He also conducted experiments in a vacuum chamber to determine the effects of reduced lunar gravity and atmospheric pressure on the size of craters excavated by buried explosives.
Upon retirement in 1980, after 33 years of service, he and his wife (and Spot, his favorite dog) traveled the 48 contiguous states over a decade of annual camping trips. He loved to bike country roads. He built beautiful furniture over several decades for family and relatives. Never to be forgotten by his daughters is the backyard clubhouse he built in the late 1950s. A talented photographer, he chronicled more than six decades of family history. He also enjoyed applying his artistry with pen and ink drawings and watercolors.
He is survived by his wife of 68 years, Doris Herr; sister, Marjorie Lieurance of Warren, Ind.; sister-in-law, Margaret Christian; three daughters, Alicia Herr (Lois Lawrence), Patrice Knight (Norman Knight), and Brenda Kreiner (Marc Kreiner); seven grandchildren, Jeremy Knight, Matt Knight, Jared Kreiner, Taylor Kreiner, Michael Kreiner, Barbra Todaro, and Diamond Hall; four great-grandchildren, Jonathan Kreiner, Mia Kreiner, Ryan Todaro, and Aidan Todaro, and numerous loved nieces and nephews.
The family would like to thank the nurses of Riverside Walter Reed Hospice in Gloucester for the loving care and compassion given to Bob.
A private interment was held in Parklawn Memorial Park in Hampton. A celebration of life gathering took place Tuesday, Oct. 14, 2014, at 2 p.m. at Ivy Memorial Baptist Church, 2200 Coliseum Drive, Hampton, Va.
The family requests that memorials take the form of contributions to the Gloucester-Mathews Humane Society, P.O. Box 385, Gloucester, Va. 23061, or to the Riverside Walter Reed Hospice, 7358 Main Street, Gloucester, Va. 23061.
Andrews Funeral Home & Crematory, Gloucester, was in charge of arrangements.