Robert Jerome Judge
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Bob was born on February 22, 1939 to Robert and Margaret Judge in Lackawanna, New York. Bob was the oldest of three siblings: Gloria, Margaret (deceased), and Patrick (deceased). In February, Bob’s family and friends celebrated him turning 80.
Bob passed away at Tacoma General Hospital on May 10, 2019. He was surrounded by his loving family. Bob had several ailments that contributed to his death; however, the worst damage was inflicted from an obstructed bowel.
Bob was an adventurer and tinker early on in life. Due to having lots of trains around Bethlehem Steel Company across the river from his home in Lackawanna, NY, Bob loved hanging around trains at a young age. He would ride for free on the inside and tops of trains. Bob always enjoyed working on machinery and was known as quite the “MacGyver.” (TV Series from 1985-1982.) His garage and house were always filled with odd-shaped parts no one else had a use for, except Bob.
After graduation in 1958, Bob and his two friends drove a car out to California for the sole purpose for Bob to get a job and work for a year before he started college. Back then tuition was cheap, providing you worked for a year first. Bob went to work for a fire insurance agency where Bob did estimates on industrial buildings to calculate what the premiums would be. After the first year, his boss was so impressed with Bob’s work, he told Bob that he would pay for Bob’s entire college if Bob continued to work for them. Yet Bob wanted to be an engineer, so he turned his boss down. After that, he attended college in the Los Angeles area and worked odd jobs.
In 1964, Bob was drafted. He served two years in the Army and was honorably discharged in February 1966. Bob had last been stationed at Fort Lewis and fell in love with Washington and photography. He got on at Boeing in March of 1966 and worked there until he was laid off in 1968. He did vibration testing on Minuteman and Scram Missiles. Next Bob went to work as the Aquatic Director at the West Seattle YMCA for six years and as a full-time student at University of Washington. In 1974, Bob again did engineer work at Boeing Co. for flight test labs until 1979.
In 1975, Bob married Shirley “Lori” Gruggett and they had three children (Gloria, Robert and Rick). Bob and Lori divorced after 20 years. From 1979-1982, Bob was self-employed and was the owner of Trophies-N-Things in Puyallup.
Bob returned to the University of Washington in 1982-83 to obtain his BA degree in electronics and solid-state physics. From 1983 through 2009, Bob continued working at Boeing Co. His last assignment, before retirement, was Manager of “Future Combat Systems” working with the Army and his own team on reverse engineering products so that if the enemy found the products that it would no longer function.
One irrefutable truth about Bob is how much of a genius he was in mathematics. Bob shared a story about him taking an employment test early in his career at Boeing. There were a few questions on the test, but Bob spent hours formulating an answer to one math question. When Bob got the score, the guy grading the test said that Bob was the only person that had ever answered that math question right in the years that he had been grading tests. Over his lifetime, Bob mentored his family and hundreds of confused people in math.
Throughout his life, Bob was an exceptional coach in many sports, (swimming, volleyball, soccer, basketball) for not only his own children, but children and adults around the Northwest. Bob’s favorite sports were swimming, basketball and golf, and Bob was a member of Linden Golf and Country Club. As part of Bob’s coaching, he learned CPR and taught it to the local Fire Department in Puyallup. He also was a member of Kiwanis in downtown Puyallup. Bob donated lots of time to kids in the Key Club, taking them on group hikes and camping trips, coaching sports, advising, etc.
Bob met Nancy in 2002 through Debbie Seelye, our mutual hairdresser. It was love at first sight for them both. They married in Maui on October 22, 2005. Debbie and Scott Seelye accompanied them to Maui. Bob started attending church with Nancy in 2002 and sang with the early-service choir. Later Bob became an active member of Trinity Lutheran Church and served on the church council for two years.
As stated earlier, Bob found inordinate time and money for his passion of trains. Bob belonged to the Boeing Employees Model Railroad Club (BEMRRC) and was an electrician for them. Bob led some symposiums for the club at a few of the national conventions, swap meets and train shows. Byron Osborn, the President of BEMRRC, will share some of the stories about Bob at Bob’s memorial service on 6/23/19 at 2:00 p.m. at Trinity Lutheran Church--address below.
Bob was a great father to his daughter and two sons. Whenever they needed him, he gave them his undivided attention, love and understanding. Bob is survived by his wife, Nancy; his sister, Gloria (Michael); his daughter, Gloria (Greg); his son, Robert (Brooke); his son, Rick (Brooke); and eight grandchildren. He also leaves behind numerous cousins, nieces and nephews.
Both Bob’s and Nancy’s families and friends will forever miss Bob’s storytelling. Bob was fortunate to travel extensively across the United States through work and pleasure, so he had a lot of stories to share. His legacy and memory will never end! For more stories about Bob, please join us for the reception following today’s service.
When it can be arranged, Bob will have a service of inurnment at Tahoma National Cemetery. Memorials may be made to Trinity Lutheran Church (12115 Park Ave. South, Tacoma, WA 98444) or to any charity of your choosing.