John R. Beattie, 74, of Westlake Village, Calif. and Dubois, Wyo., passed away Friday, Oct. 27, 2017 at Munson Hospice House in Traverse City, Mich. after a spirited battle with cancer.
Bob, as his family and friends knew him, was a devoted husband and loving father. He loved the company of family and friends, a good laugh … and the occasional dry martini.
Bob was born on February 8, 1943 in Casper, Wyo. to the late William and Delores (Syverson) Beattie. As a Rocky Mountain frontier town, Casper afforded many opportunities for outdoor recreation. Hunting, fishing and camping with his father and uncles gave Bob many fond memories - and stories to tell - of his childhood.
After graduating from Natrona County High School, Bob married his high school sweetheart and one true love, the late Brenda (Forsberg) Beattie. Together they raised three sons: Dr. John N. Beattie of Traverse City, Mich.; James M. Beattie of Seattle, Wash.; and the late Patrick S. Beattie.
As Bob pursued his education and his career in aerospace engineering, the Beattie family moved many times, alternately living in Laramie, Wyo.; Arlington, Texas; Ft. Collins, Colo. and Pasadena, Calif. before settling in Westlake Village, Calif.
In those early years as a family, Bob enjoyed many adventures with Brenda and the boys. They traveled extensively, exploring new places to ski, backpack and fish. Following retirement, Bob and Brenda took to the mountains, where they bought a cabin in the Wyoming Rockies near Dubois. There, they spent their summers enjoying the splendor of the region.
Sadly, Brenda passed away in 2011, but Bob found solace in his mountain hideaway, comforted by the company of family and friends. Bob was highly educated; his distinguished career reflected a deep love of learning. After graduating from high school, Bob earned an associate’s degree from Casper College, following it up with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Wyoming in Laramie, Wyo. From there, Bob moved to Arlington, Texas, where he worked for Ling-Temco-Vaught Aerospace. He moved back to Laramie, earning a master’s degree in aeronautical engineering from his alma mater. While there, Bob became interested in the field of ion propulsion, which prompted a move to Ft. Collins, Colo. to earn his Ph.D. in plasma physics from Colorado State University.
Following his doctoral studies, Bob worked briefly for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., moving to Hughes Research Laboratories in Malibu, Calif., and finally settling at Boeing, where he worked for several years before retiring in 2005. In his 30-year career, Bob earned many awards and was granted more than a dozen patents in the field of ion propulsion. The pinnacle of his work was the development and commercial application of the Xenon Ion Propulsion System® which is used on many satellite spacecraft today.
Along the way, Bob was influenced by multiple mentors and advisors for whom he had great respect, but none more so than his late uncle, John R. “Jack” Beattie. Bob would always recognize Jack’s profound influence as it pertained to his personal and professional success. He was a trusted confidante, a friend and a spiritual advisor.
Bob is preceded in death by his parents, William and Delores Beattie; his wife, Brenda Beattie; his brother, William E. Beattie; and his son, Patrick S. Beattie.
Surviving Bob are his sons John N. (Kim) and James M. Beattie; his sister, Dianne Beattie Ebert; his four grandchildren: William, Sarah, Michael and Andrew Beattie; and multiple nieces and nephews.
A visitation will be held at Newcomer-Casper Chapel on Thursday, Nov. 9 from 5 p.m-7 p.m., with a 7 p.m. rosary. Bob’s funeral will be on Friday, Nov. 10 at 10:30 a.m. at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Casper.
The family requests that memorial contributions be directed to Munson Hospice House, c/o Munson Healthcare Regional Foundation, 1150 Medical Campus Drive, Traverse City 49684.
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