Robert “Bob” Lewis Spencer

By  | January 13, 2021 | Filed under: Laughlin Service Funeral Home, Obituaries

Robert “Bob” Lewis Spencer, an aerospace engineer and inventor, passed away peacefully on Wednesday, January 6, 2021 in Huntsville, AL. He is survived by his loving wife, Mary Johnson Spencer; four children, Allen, Susan, Lynn, and Mark; seven grandchildren; and seven great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his brother, James Gill Spencer of Baton Rouge LA.

Bob was born in Northport, AL, to James Spencer and Mae Burleson and grew up in Miami, FL and in Mobile, AL near Dog River. As a teenager, he had to hitchhike to school and he and his brother spent their days sailing a small boat on Mobile Bay. He graduated from Murphey High School at age 16 and began working at a nearby airfield. Bob joined the Air Force in 1951, served during the Korean War and later in the Strategic Air Command. After leaving the Air Force he attended the University of Alabama and graduated in 1957 with dual degrees in Mechanical and Aeronautical engineering. On January 27, 1956 he married Mary Johnson of Ft. Payne AL and they soon began a family. He pursued his career with positions at major aerospace companies and moved to Huntsville before joining NASA in 1963 to support the Apollo program.

Bob made significant contributions to several NASA programs including the Saturn 1B, the Apollo Lunar Rover, the Skylab space station, the Long Duration Exposure Facility satellite, the Laser Geodynamic Satellite, and he was the NASA liaison to the European Space Agency for the Space Lab program from 1977 to 1980. He retired from NASA in 1983 but continued his career with positions at McDonnel Douglas, USBI and Bosch Aerospace. He was also an inventor and held two U.S. patents. Bob was an avid pilot and enjoyed flying small planes for pleasure and for business travel. He was a founding member of the local Marshall-Redstone flying club and a member of the Experimental Aircraft Assoc. His hobbies and interest included gardening, wood working, boating, genealogy and enjoying the outdoors.

Bob often took his children on outdoor adventures including hiking, camping, boating, and canoeing. He was a kind and patient father, and he loved his role as Papa to his grandchildren and great grandchildren. He will be remembered for his loving attention but also for his sense of humor and numerous “Dad” jokes. He will be deeply missed by his family, friends and all who knew him.

The funeral service will be held at 2:00 p.m. Friday, January 15th, at First Christian Church, 3209 Whitesburg Drive in Huntsville. Burial will be in Maple Hill Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the North Alabama Land Trust or to a charity of your choice.

The family would also like to thank Redstone Village Care Facility and staff for their efforts and support.

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