Robert W. Crain
Robert W. Crain passed away December 23, 2018 in Albuquerque, N.M. shortly before his 97th birthday. He is survived by his wife Elizabeth (Liz), sons Bob Jr. and partner Judy Ducharme of Albuquerque and Jim and wife Sylvia of Santa Fe, N.M., as well as sister Marnelle Van Cleave of Monticello.
He grew up in Monticello and met Elizabeth at Arkansas A&M College (now the University of Arkansas at Monticello). They celebrated their 75th wedding anniversary in February 2018. They married in Crawfordsville (Crittenden County) in 1942 at the height of World War II after he enlisted in the Coast Artillery. They had many adventures as he was assigned to school after school, became an expert in radar systems and was honorably discharged as a Tech Sergeant in the Army Signal Corps.
In 1946, he reported to a Post Office box in Santa Fe and was assigned to the Los Alamos Laboratories Z Division in Albuquerque, soon to become Sandia National Laboratories. While at Sandia, he was one of the pioneers in the use of automated test equipment to verify components in U.S. nuclear weapons. He was a project leader, who was known for bringing his projects in on time and under budget. Robert retired in 1984 and built a home in Sandia Heights, N.M.
With radar school friend Joe Davila, from Quemado, N.M., he designed and installed the first television translator in New Mexico. It was installed in the Quemado area in the 1950s. He started investing in real estate in the late 1940s and by the 1970s was general partner in a cabin site development near Tecolote, N.M. and in the Alamosa Ranch at Monticello Canyon near Elephant Butte Lake, N.M. In later years, Robert and Elizabeth spent two months of the year in Wauchula, Fla. at the SKP Park, where they enjoyed the weather through the winter months and had many friends.
Robert was a competitive man and whether shooting pool with his sons or shooting skeet he liked to win. His competitive nature led him and some fellow base sportsmen to form the Sandia Skeet Club. He served as president for a time and regularly shot skeet competitively in New Mexico and other states. At one time, he was part of a four-man squad that finished second in the state championship.
The Alamosa Land and Cattle Company held a special place in Robert’s heart. He hunted and fished there, raised cattle and had a small farm with his three partners. There were many roundups and farm activities that kept him in touch with his rural Arkansas farm roots.
He was a do-it-yourselfer competent in wood working, mechanics and general construction who passed his skills on to his sons. Later in life, he completed a frame off restoration of a 1958 MGA. He enjoyed taking care of the yard and all things around the house. He also steadily improved and repaired the ranch house near Truth or Consequences, N.M. and spent much time there enjoying the outdoors.
The family would like to give thanks to the many caregivers that made his last months more comfortable.
Memorial and remembrance services will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Jan. 19 at the chapel at Sandia Presbyterian Church, 10704 Paseo del Norte Northeast, Albuquerque. Interment will be at the National Cemetery in Santa Fe.