Obituary: Robert and Patricia Brodsky

Dr. Robert F. “Bob” Brodsky, a longtime Claremont resident, died on March 29, 2016 of complications from pneumonia at the age of 90. He was an aerospace engineer, professor, sailor, New Orleans Jazz expert and the author of seven books. He is listed in Who’s Who in the World, Who’s Who in America, Who’s Who in Science and Engineering and Who’s Who in American Education. 

Dr. Brodsky’s beloved wife and dearest friend, Patricia Wess Brodsky, an actress and world traveler, died one day later on March 30 2016. She was 82. They raised four children, Bette Brodsky of Santa Fe, New Mexico, the late Robert “Bobby” Brodsky (March 31, 1952-November 23, 2012), also of Santa Fe, David Brodsky of Claremont and Jeffrey Brodsky of Clinton, Massachusetts. The couple is also survived by eight devoted and loving grandchildren and one great-granddaughter.

They met in Claremont when Bob was a lead engineer at the Convair Corporation in Pomona, and married here in 1959. Dr. Brodsky was a pioneer in the Atomic, guided missile and Space Ages. In the first, he was responsible for the aerodynamic design and performance of all our early atomic bombs. He was written up in Time Magazine (February 1, 1963) for his invention of a space lifeboat, and was awarded two national outstanding Aerospace Educator citations. During Dr. Brodsky’s career he was employed by the Sandia in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Convair, Aerojet in Azusa and TRW in Redondo Beach. He taught astronautical engineering at UCLA Extension, Iowa State University and the University of Southern California. 

In 2012 USC President C.L. Max Nikias sent him a letter of commendation for having won his long fight to have astronautics established and accredited as a separate academic pursuit. A veteran, he served in the US Navy in World War II. His is a graduate of Cornell University (BME); New York University (Master of Aeronautic Engineering and Doctor of Science) and the University of New Mexico (MS Math).

Patricia “Patti” Brodsky, once an office manager for the Claremont COURIER in the 1950s, studied acting at the Pittsburgh Playhouse and was a leading actress and lauded member of community theaters in many of the places the couple lived during their 55-year marriage. Besides living in the late ‘50s and ‘60s in Claremont—where they returned to live at Claremont Manor in 2012—they lived in Ames, Iowa where Dr. Brodsky was a professor at Iowa State University and Patti co-founded the Iowa Women’s Theater Company; in Paris, France where Dr. Brodsky was an executive with Aerojet; in Haifa, Israel where Dr. Brodsky was twice a visiting professor at the Technion and, for many years, in Hermosa Beach and Redondo Beach until 2012.

The couple also leaves behind devoted friends, family and colleagues from all over the world as reported in their 2014 book, Pat and Bob TRIP the Light Fantastic, available on Amazon.

A memorial service and ceremony at sea is planned for spring 2017 in Redondo Beach.


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