Robert W. Crain passed away December 23, 2018 in Albuquerque, NM shortly before his 97th birthday. He is survived by his wife, Elizabeth (Liz); sons, Bob Jr. and partner Judy Ducharme of Albuquerque, NM and Jim and wife Sylvia of Santa Fe, NM; as well as sister, Marnelle Van Cleave of Monticello, AR.
He grew up in Monticello, AR and met Elizabeth at Arkansas A&M. They celebrated their 75th wedding anniversary in February 2018. They married in Crawfordsville, AR in 1942 at the height of World War II after he enlisted in the Coast Artillery. They had many adventures as he was assigned to school after school, became expert in radar systems and was honorably discharged as a Tech Sergeant in the Army Signal Corps.
In 1946, he reported to a post office box in Santa Fe and was assigned to the Los Alamos Laboratories Z Division in Albuquerque, soon to become Sandia National Laboratories. While at Sandia he was one of the pioneers in the use of automated test equipment to verify components in US nuclear weapons. He was a project leader who was known for bringing his projects in on time and under budget. Robert retired in 1984 and built a home in Sandia Heights.
With radar school friend, Joe Davila, from Quemado, NM, he designed and installed the first television translator in New Mexico. It was installed in the Quemado area in the fifties. He started investing in real estate in the late forties and by the seventies was general partner in a cabin site development near Tecolote, NM and in the Alamosa Ranch at Monticello Canyon near Elephant Butte Lake. In later years, Robert and Elizabeth spent two months of the year in Wauchula, Florida at the SKP Park where they enjoyed the weather through the winter months and had many friends.
Robert was a competitive man and whether shooting pool with his sons or shooting skeet he liked to win. His competitive nature led him and some fellow base sportsmen to form the Sandia Skeet Club. He served as president for a time and regularly shot skeet competitively in NM and other states. At one time he was part of a four man squad that finished second in the state championship.
The Alamosa Land and Cattle Company held a special place in Robert's heart. He hunted and fished there, raised cattle and had a small farm with his three partners. There were many roundups and farm activities that kept him in touch with his rural Arkansas farm roots.
He was a do-it-yourselfer competent in wood working, mechanics and general construction who passed his skills on to his sons. Later in life, he completed a frame off restoration of a 1958 MGA. He enjoyed taking care of the yard and all things around the house. He also steadily improved and repaired the ranch house near T or C and spent much time there enjoying the outdoors.
The family would like to give thanks to the many caregivers that made his last months more comfortable.
A memorial and remembrance will be held on Saturday, January 19, 2019, at 11:00 a.m. in the sanctuary of Sandia Presbyterian Church, 10704 Paseo del Norte NE, Albuquerque. Interment will be at the National Cemetery in Santa Fe.
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