KENT — Robert “Bob” W. Popham, 88, of Kent, formerly from Mt. Airy, Maryland, and husband of the former Roberta June Allen of Newton Falls, passed on Wednesday, Dec. 22, 2021.
Born in Long Beach, California, Bob led an active life — Navy enlisted man, college graduate, scout master for seven years, Naval Reserve officer, satellite research scientist for NOAA, lecturer at Oxford University in England, chairman of several NOAA, NASA and United Nations conferences, keynote speaker at a special session of the UN General Assembly in New York on “The Peaceful Uses of Outer Space,” and part time UN consultant for 11 years afterwards.
He was vice president of two aerospace engineering companies after retiring from government service, designer and teacher of two-week summer courses in aerospace science and technology for K12 teachers for 14 years at the John Hopkins University before fully retiring in 2003, and a past Master of Masonic Lodge No. 227 in Camp Springs, Maryland.
A Korean War veteran, Bob joined the Navy in 1951. After being discharged, he attended the University of New Hampshire, transferred to the Pennsylvania State University and received his Bachelor of Science degree in meteorology in January 1959. He began 20 more years of military service when he received a commission as a Naval Reserve officer that same year.
While working for the U.S. Weather Bureau (now part of NOAA), he became the first person to analyze a picture electronically transmitted from space from TIROS 1, the world’s first weather satellite. He pioneered the use of satellites for sea, ice and snow surveillance and other earth science applications, and later helped government agencies, businesses, academic institutions at nearly all levels, and radio amateurs in nearly 120 countries develop their own satellite image reception capabilities.
Without exception, Bob considered his wife June as the supporting force behind any and every success, big and small, that came his way. To him, with her personality, beauty, charm, talent, and indefatigable energy, she was the epitome of what any man could even hope to find in the girl of his dreams.
Besides his wife, he is survived by his son, Wayne, his daughter-in-law, Laura and grandson, Nathaniel in Alexandria, Va.; his stepson, Mark Cochrane and granddaughters, Katie and Sarah Cochrane of Wilmington, Del.
He was preceded in death by his parents; his brothers, Norman and Ken Popham; and his sisters, Marilyn Hart and Shirley Schulman.
Visitation will be from 10 a.m. to noon on Wednesday, Dec. 29, 2021, at the Borowski Memorial Home in Newton Falls.
A Masonic Service courtesy of the Newton Falls Masonic Lodge No. 462 will be at noon with a service to follow.
Interment with military honors by the United States Navy and the Newton Falls Veterans Honor Guard will be at the Newton Township Cemetery in Newton Falls.
Family and friends may send condolences by visiting www.borowskimemorialhome.com.