Tropical 10

Robert (Bob) O. Brown

June 23, 1926 ~ July 7, 2020 (age 94)

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Robert O. "Bob" Brown, 94, passed away peacefully on July 7, 2020 in Melbourne, Florida. He was married to the former Claire E. "Betty" Wagner, the love of his life for over 63 years. They raised their family in Suburban Philadelphia and moved to Cocoa Beach, Florida in 1982. 

Bob had a long and rewarding career as a mechanical engineer of turbine development with the steam turbine generator division of Westinghouse Electric Corporation. When he retired in 1984 he enjoyed more time to be active in his church, Riverside Presbyterian Church, traveling with his wife Betty, golfing, and spending time with his friends and family. 

Surviving are three daughters, Claire Burton and her husband, Jak of Cocoa Beach, Florida; Barbara Gallagher and her husband, Bob, of Montoursville, PA; Nancy Marie Brown and her husband, Charles Fergus, of East Burke, VT; a brother, Dick and his wife, Beverlee, of Escondido, CA; grandsons R. Patrick Gallagher and his wife, Caitlin, of Brooklyn, NY; Kyle Gallagher of Scranton, PA; William Fergus and his wife, Melanie, of Everett, MA; great granddaughters Nora and Sylvie Gallagher; and many nieces and nephews. 

In addition to his parents and his wife Betty, he was predeceased by a granddaughter, Claire Gallagher and two brothers, Edwin and Donald.

Bob was deeply loved and will be greatly missed. A family celebration of his life will be held at a later date so that we may honor his memory together the way he would have wanted. 

The family wishes to express our sincere gratitude and thankfulness for the loving care and compassion shown to him by the staff and volunteers at Discovery Village Memory Care, Melbourne and by the staff of Hospice of St. Francis. 





Life Accomplishments 

Robert Otis Brown of Cocoa Beach, FL was born on June 23, 1926, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the second son of Edwin C. Brown and Helen Berrien Brown. During his childhood Bob lived on two farms, one near Kennett Square in Chester County, PA, and the other near Coopersburg in Bucks County. He had three brothers: Edwin Jr. (older) and Donald and Richard (younger).      

Bob graduated from high school in Springfield Township, PA, in 1944. He enlisted in the U.S.  Navy, and was accepted into the U12 Program which he was honorably discharged from on June 27, 1950. He graduated from Swarthmore College in  1948 with a degree in mechanical engineering. After attending Westinghouse Electric Corporation's design school in Pittsburgh, the company placed him in its turbine division in Philadelphia in 1949. Drafted into the U.S. Army on November 29, 1950, during the Korean War (official records list him as 6 feet tall and weighing 155 pounds), he was ultimately discharged USAR on September 24, 1956 and returned to work for Westinghouse without having to leave the U.S.

Bob married Claire Elizabeth ("Betty") Wagner in 1952. Their three daughters were Claire, Barbara, and Nancy. The family lived in Springfield and then Media, PA. In 1956 Bob earned a master's degree in mechanical engineering from Drexel Institute of Technology. He also completed coursework through the Harvard Business School during the 1970's.

At Westinghouse, Bob worked at designing large turbines used in generating electric power. He shared six patents for methods and designs related to cooling turbine rotors and discs, controlling the flow of pressurized fluid in turbines, and creating efficient and durable guide vanes for supersonic turbine blades.

Gradually he rose through the ranks to head the company' s turbine design division. In that capacity he traveled to many countries, providing technical information to potential customers regarding Westinghouse-designed turbines for use in power plants. Bob successfully sold turbines to utilities in Europe, including Germany, Italy, England, and France; the Middle East; and Asia, including China, Japan, Taiwan , and Russia. He also traveled extensively for Westinghouse in North America. When he retired from the company in 1984, one third of all electricity generated in the United States came from turbines for which Bob had design responsibility.

In one of his last assignments with Westinghouse, Bob chaired a committee to relocate the turbine design division from Philadelphia to a new setting. The committee settled on Orlando, Florida, and built a new facility there. Bob and Betty bought a house on a canal in Cocoa Beach. Bob retired from Westinghouse in 1984. He and Betty then traveled to many places, including Alaska, Iceland, Scandinavia, Europe, China, and Israel. Bob also enjoyed fishing, golfing, and church activities, including helping to plan and oversee the building of a new sanctuary building for Riverside Presbyterian Church in Cocoa Beach.

Riverside Church was a big part of his life in Florida. He and Betty made many good friends there and were always ready to help any way they could. His quite faith, friendly nature, excellent character and loving heart will long be remembered.


No services are planned at this time. In lieu flowers, donations in Bob's memory may be made to Riverside Presbyterian Church in Cocoa Beach 3400 N. Atlantic Avenue, Cocoa Beach, FL 32931 or the Hospice of St. Francis in Melbourne, FL 6905 N. Wickham Rd Suite 403, Melbourne, FL 32940.


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