Robert R. “Bob” Pehkonen, 82, of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, passed away Friday, January 4, 2019 at St. Luke’s Hospital from a sudden illness. Celebration of Life services will be 10:00 a.m. Thursday, January 10, at Noelridge Christian Church, 7111 C Avenue NE, Cedar Rapids. Visitation will be from 5 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, Jan 9, at Cedar Memorial Chapel of Memories. Private Inurnment will take place later.
Bob was born July 3, 1936, in Grafton, North Dakota, the son of Toivo (Toby) and Clarice Pehkonen. During his childhood, Bob’s interests with electronics evolved into hobbies that included HAM Radio (WØNQB), and radio station operations. He graduated with bachelor degrees in Physics, Math and a minor in English from Concordia College. Following his graduation, in 1959, he was drafted into the U.S. Army. He served 2 years at the Yuma, Arizona Test Station, testing rockets and munitions. Bob also became a licensed pilot and flew small aircraft during his college and military years. In 1961, Bob married Joan Pederson, and then later divorced. In 1994, he married the love of his life Sue Ellen Hartmann.
Professionally, Bob’s career revolved around industrial automation and computer technology. Collins Radio Company brought Bob to Cedar Rapids in 1965. At Vector Corporation, “Dr. Bob” as he was fondly called, shared a patent for fluid bed coating technology and automation. He later worked for Integrated Controls and Computer Services (ICCS), Acme Electric, the ESCO Group and then retired from Timberline Manufacturing. During his retirement, his passion and interests with technology continued with exploring smart technology and gadgets in his home, and on his travel adventures with Sue.
Bob loved people, and learned to connect with others while working at his parent’s Piggly Wiggly store in Langdon, North Dakota. He had a talent for making people feel special and valued. He was especially devoted to his wife Sue. They were always creating memorable experiences together wherever they were, whether it was travel, home projects or just spending time together sharing their favorite dessert.
He was a member and Elder at Noelridge church and was a man of strong faith. He found unique ways to spread his love and compassion for others. He was always there to share his wisdom from life’s lessons that taught him to be a better person and how to strengthen the value of relationships.
Bob is survived by his wife Sue, children, Jim Pehkonen (Leanne Seckinger) of Salt Lake City, Utah; Kathryn Smith (Scott Donovan) of Parker, Colorado; Melissa Walpole (Steve) of Scotts Valley, California. Stepchildren Adriane Miller (Michael) of Marion, Iowa; Aaron Hartmann of Bend, Oregon and Jen Driscol (Jeff) of Robins, Iowa, 16 grandchildren, and his sister Doris Johnson (David) of Fredericksburg, VA.
Preceding Bob in death were his parents and a son Robert J. Pehkonen.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be sent to Noelridge Christian Church.