obituaries – Robert L. Crabtree

Robert L. Crabtree

Robert L. Crabtree was born on Sept. 21, 1926 in Elgin, Ill. He passed away Sept. 19 at Verdugo Hills Hospital at the age of 83.
Bob graduated from Crystal Lake High School, served honorably in the U.S. Army Air Corps during WW II, and went on to graduate from Denver University with a B.S. in Electrical Engineering in 1952.
He worked as an engineer with Honeywell in Minneapolis, and then moved his family to Southern California in 1960 to work at Pasadena’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory for 32 years. At JPL, he contributed significantly in the “Race for Space,” first as test and operations manager for the Ranger Project that sent back the first high-resolution photographs of the Moon’s surface. From 1965 to 1968, he was manager of the Systems Test and Launch Operations for the Surveyor project that achieved the first soft-landing of a spacecraft on the Moon. From 1968 to 1977 he served on the Mercury and Viking projects, most notably as deputy mission director for Viking, which successfully landed the first two spacecraft on Mars, and continued to send back data and photographs for over six years. In the early 1980s, Bob contributed to a number of projects for the US Army, and then from 1987 to 1992 he was manager for JPL’s Assessment and Technology programs. He retired in 1992.
Bob had a lifetime love for the game of golf, but he also enjoyed fishing, hunting, gardening and woodworking. His family, friends and neighbors will miss him.
He was predeceased by his daughter Nancy Crabtree Stone in 1995. He is survived by his son and daughter-in-law Tom and Robyn Crabtree; two grandchildren, James and Jillian Crabtree; and his sister Ardelle Legel of Crystal Lake, Ill.
A memorial gathering will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Friday Oct. 1, at Joselito’s Restaurant, 2345 Honolulu Ave. in Montrose.
While in Colorado, she and her daughter took several scenic trips and attended many concerts at the Chatauqua in Boulder.  Betty loved life, and found good in everyone. She had a certain innocence that affected everyone who knew her.
Betty is survived by her daughter Beth Ann Munson of Broomfield, Colo.; grandchildren Kelly Rodriguez and Caryn Edwards of Escondido, Calif.; Diane Jarcow of Beaverton, Ore.; Brenda Babcock of Kuna, Idaho; and six great grandchildren: Roxanne, Dominick, Miranda, Kylie, Ryan, and Zoe.
She was preceded in death by her husband John McGaughey and her brother Richard Arthur. A memorial is being planned in April 2011 at the gravesite of her parents at Forest Lawn – North Hollywood. Arrangements will be announced later.
Betty would have been so happy to have any contributions made to the Verdugo Hills Women’s Chorus, 10765 Orange Grove Blvd., Pasadena, CA 91105 c/o Sharon Schlarb.