Cover photo for Robert Simon's Obituary
Robert Simon Profile Photo
1930 Robert 2015

Robert Simon

April 27, 1930 — January 8, 2015

Robert was born to Allen C. and Mildred Fossil Simon. He grew up in Indiana, graduating from Purdue University with a Baccalaureate in Chemical Engineering. After college, he worked briefly for the US Navy, and then Boeing before being drafted into the Army in 1952. He served in Alabama, working to develop the first chemical protective clothing, and then at Yuma Test Station, in Arizona. Robert was honorably discharged in 1954.

Robert worked the rest of his 30 year career as a materials scientist at the Naval Ordnance Lab (later renamed the Naval Surface Weapons Center) in White Oak, Maryland. He developed non-metallic, high strength-to-weight ratio filament materials used primarily in projectile nose cones. The US Navy holds over 400 patents in his name.

In 1963 Robert was injured in a lab explosion. He spent the next 4 months in the hospital. After his return to normal life he married Mary Onnis Waid, of Alabama, who was a young Naval officer working at the lab. They were married for 26 years, had two children, and enjoyed a quiet suburban life.

Robert was always very athletic. He was a sprinter at Perdue, won numerous golf and tennis trophies in lab tournaments, participated in the Maryland and North Carolina Senior Olympics, and even completed the Marine Corps Marathon at age 61.

Robert retired in 1985, first to Maryland, then to Asheville, NC, and then, in 2008, to Jackson, WY. He was active at the Senior Center and attended services at the Presbyterian Church. Robert was a generous supporter of the Jackson Hole Community Band.

Robert was preceded in death by his parents and his sister Dorothy (Simon) Ekblom. He is survived by his children Cynthia Jane and Glenn, and his grandchildren Caitlin and Eleanor.

A private memorial will be held by the family.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Robert Simon, please visit our flower store.


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