Nature 28

Robert "Bob" A. Blair

1931 ~ 2023 (age 92) 92 Years Old


Bob Blair passed away on June 14th, 2023, from complications of lung cancer. Bob died peacefully surrounded by family at Seattle’s University House, where he lived since 2013.

Bob was born in Camas, Washington, in 1931, to Isabella and Otis Blair. The eldest of the couple’s three children, Bob spent his youth in Southwest Washington, on the Long Beach Peninsula and in Vancouver. This time of his life was formative, such as the hardships of life during World War Two and became the source of stories that Bob would frequently recount to family and friends.

After serving in the US Navy as an Electronics Technician aboard the USS BROWN during the Korean conflict, Bob enrolled at the University of Washington. He graduated with an electrical engineering degree and was hired by the school’s Aeronautics and Astronautics Department to automate the instrumentation in the Kirsten wind tunnel. Bob went on to spend a nearly four decade career there, working at the cutting edge of the computer revolution and applying his resourcefulness and creativity to designing equipment and instrumentation for research projects. In a letter of commendation, his talents were described: “His title of a Research Engineer does not give a hint of a wide scope of service that Bob has been providing to the Department.  He is a mechanical, electrical, electronic, and manufacturing engineer all rolled into one.  …he has been rendering irreplaceable and unstinting service.”

Bob retired from the University of Washington in 1996.

In retirement, Bob was an active volunteer, especially in the public schools and for his Unitarian church.  He continued his lifelong enjoyment of live classical music and stage theater. Bob’s hobbies included folk dancing and woodworking. His passion for all things wooden was evident in his hand-crafted furniture, turnings and especially boxes.  Always on the lookout for interesting wood that he could turn into his signature boxes, his handicraft is still available in woodworking galleries throughout the Pacific Northwest. 

Bob is preceded in death by his sister, Carolyn, and survived by his brother, Malcom, nieces Lori, Lani, Gretchen, and Heidi, nephew Malcom Jr., and his sons Dave and Doug, and stepchildren Jeff and Jennifer.  His five grandchildren, Elizabeth, Cooper, Matthew, Fina and Marlo reside in Connecticut and Washington. He is also survived by his longtime friend and companion Sherry. 


A gathering to celebrate Bob’s life was held on June 28th, at one of his favorite spots, Irwin's Neighborhood Bakery and Café in Seattle.


Remembrances may be made to:

Northwest Choirs organization:

Pacific Northwest Ballet:

Seattle Symphony:


Share your condolences and memories of Bob on his Tribute Wall, located above. 


- Care Entrusted to Emmick Family Funeral Home -



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Gathering of Family and Friends
June 28, 2023

Irwin's Neighborhood Bakery and Café
2123 North 40th Street
Seattle, WA 98103-8253

Please note
Remembrances may be made to: Northwest Choirs organization: Pacific Northwest Ballet: Seattle Symphony:


Please direct Memorial Donations to the facility/charity listed in the obituary above


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