Robert Earl Santini was born on June 3, 1941, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania before American involvement in World War II. Bob’s father was already in the US Army (infantry). He would not see his son except briefly prior to his deployment until after the war was over. The young family resided in the Hill District of Pittsburgh. Bob would attend the A. Leo Weil School as he grew. His parents eventually had two younger brothers, Steven and Richard, also born in Pittsburgh. Bob spent his youth within walking distance of the Carnegie Museum of Natural History and its extensive public Library and Exhibitions. The museum had excellent educational programs for young people. There, Bob grew a fascination in physical science which would profoundly shape his interests and professional career. Bob would complete his primary education at the Whiteman School in Squirrel Hill, another suburb of Pittsburgh.
Bob’s family relocated to Los Angeles, California in 1952. His parents would spend the rest of their lives in Los Angeles and Ventura Counties. Bob attended Thomas A. Edison Middle School in Los Angeles and South Gate High School in South Gate, California. He entered the University of California at Berkeley on an academic scholarship after his secondary education. He declared a major in Inorganic Chemistry there. Bob participated in Particle, a student magazine at Berkeley, where he met his life partner, Judith Ann Barnes in 1960. They married in 1961. Bob and Judy would remain partners for life.
Bob was recruited to Purdue University’s Chemistry Department with the inducement of a graduate scholarship. Bob and Judy established their family in West Lafayette, where they would each spend the rest of their lives. Both continued their education at Purdue. After he obtained a PhD degree, Purdue offered Bob a post in the Chemistry Department. He accepted this offer with alacrity. Judy would complete a degree in Computer Science at Purdue a few years later.
The family produced two boys, Victor in 1964 and Michael in 1973. Both were educated in the West Lafayette Public School Corporation, each graduating from West Lafayette Senior High School. Victor was commissioned in the U. S. Navy through the ROTC program at Purdue in 1987. Victor was selected for and completed the Navy’s Naval Nuclear Power Program. Michael was appointed to the U. S. Naval Academy after secondary school, receiving a commission as a line officer in 1995.
Bob and Judy spent more than 50 years each on the staff of Purdue University. Each earned professional awards and recognition from Purdue and elsewhere. Both produced original bodies of work in their respective fields. Judy was an agronomist and statistician. She specialized in experimental design for crop trials. Judy eventually taught graduate-level for-credit courses on experimental design in the Agronomy Department.
Bob was a founding member and officer of the Wildcat Valley Rifle and Pistol Club near Brookston, Indiana. He had a long-term interest in the responsible practice of competitive marksmanship and marksmanship training. Bob eventually achieved the classification of Master Rifleman in formal competition.
One of Bob’s major interests outside of chemistry included aviation. He had an instrument rating and was certified to fly complex aircraft. He applied this knowledge to environmental data acquisition of atmospheric variables from general aviation aircraft.
He had a life-long interest in the design and application of electronic instrumentation in chemistry and environmental science. Bob was an acknowledged expert on the application of high resolution Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) spectroscopy and Magnetic Resonance imaging (MRI) to chemical and biological research. He witnessed the discovery and early application of MRI. He began his postgraduate career with his thesis advisor (H. L. Pardue) doing high speed acquisition of optical spectra in aqueous solution. This experience laid a firm groundwork for these techniques as they were later developed. Some may note that this was an unusual career path for a Chemist. It was considered revolutionary at the time.
Bob had many friends in the Chemistry Department at Purdue and throughout the wider Tippecanoe County community. He always affirmed his decision to choose Purdue and West Lafayette as places to build his career and raise his family.
Home is the sailor, home from sea,
And the hunter home from the hill.
Robert Earl Santini passed on March 11, 2023. Visitation is one hour prior to a 2 pm Memorial Service on March 21, 2023, at the Soller-Baker West Lafayette Chapel 1184 Sagamore Parkway West, West Lafayette,IN 47906 .You may leave condolences at www.soller-baker.com