Robert L. Wixted, 80 years

Shrewsbury, MA - Robert Lundstrom Wixted, known as Bob, died on January 16, 2017 in Northborough, Massachusetts following a brief illness. 

He is survived by his wife of 55 years, Carolyn Wixted, his brother Tim Wixted and sister-in-law Ana Vincenti of Harbert, MI, his daughter Ellen and son-in-law Frank Renna of Bainbridge Island, WA, his daughter Beth and son-in-law Tim Carpenter of Cazenovia, NY, his son Jack and daughter-in-law Kristen Wixted of Northborough, his daughter Susan and son-in-law Glenn Merrill of Starkville, MS, and ten grandchildren. He will be missed for his kind and cheerful soul, his bright and curious intellect, and most of all, his loving heart. 

Bob was born in 1935 in Chesaning, Michigan, and graduated from Mishawauka High School in 1954. He graduated from Notre Dame University with a BS and later, a MS in Engineering Science. After meeting Carolyn, the two married in 1961, started a family, and moved to Maui, Hawaii. For several years Bob ran an astronomical observatory there, monitoring space launches and studying the skies. Following that, the family lived in Wakefield, MA for many years while Bob worked at MIT. He later held a position at Princeton, and according to his brother, being the kind of thinker who "would turn things over in his head in unexpected ways," he was asked to work on various high-level scientific research projects, including the Super Collider at CERN in Switzerland. 

He owned an enormous number of books on everything from Renaissance painting to raising tomatoes to the civil rights movement. Bob read scientific textbooks the way most people read novels, including once a college-level chemistry text, a treasured present for his 12th birthday. His children have fond memories of spending Saturdays playing pinball at the MIT Student Union while Bob perused the bookstore. When he wasn't reading, he was sailing or woodworking or building computers which, when switched on, may or may not have burst into flames. His most recent large project was building his own airplane; his most recent small project was setting up one more telescope to gaze at the fascinating universe from the window of his assisted-living apartment in Shrewsbury.

Bob's brother Tim says, "His was an ever-probing, unconsciously-tinkering, often-iconoclastic, and never mindlessly-accepting mind," and he had a profound influence on those who loved him. He will be sorely missed. 

A service to celebrate Bob's life will be held at the Trinity Church in Northborough on Thursday, January 19 at 11:30am. Memorial gifts in Bob's memory may be made to the Northborough Food Pantry at