Robert Lee Benbow of Mount Dora, FL, passed away on August 19, 2023, with his family by his side. Known as “Bob” by his friends or “Pap” by his grandkids, he was born on January 13, 1945, in Steubenville, Ohio, to Albert Robert Lee Benbow and Jessie Freshwater. Bob was 78 years old.
Raised in Weirton, WV, Bob was an Eagle Scout and graduate of The Linsly School, a private military prep school in Wheeling, WV. Bob was also a member of the Weirton, WV Masonic Lodge 171.
He received his Bachelor of Science in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Cincinnati in 1968, where he was a member of Triangle Fraternity. While at Cincinnati, he interned with Ford Aerospace in Louisiana. Upon graduation, he worked for McDonnell Douglas in Houston, Texas, for 20+ years before finishing his aerospace career with Boeing.
Bob’s passion was the pursuit of space, and his primary work was training astronauts on flight scheduling systems. He began his career with STS-01, the first shuttle mission, and ended his shuttle work after the Challenger accident in 1986 when he and his family were transferred to Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland in 1988. There, he worked on the International Space Station and then the Delta Rocket program. He continued that work with Boeing in California before retiring from the aerospace industry.
After his retirement, he shifted into program management and worked at IBM as a Communication Specialist, living in Boston, MA, and later in Deep Creek, MD. But even until his death, Bob kept up with the newest space launches from his driveway in Mount Dora, Florida, where he was known to catch evening launches of SpaceX and always had the most recent launch information on his phone.
Bob is survived by his wife, Alice Jean Benbow, and their five children: Amy Riccardi and her husband Tim (Sterling, VA), Joe Benbow and his wife Kristi (Chambersburg, PA), Barbara Swenson and her husband Erik (Shippensburg, PA), Alison Maltony and her husband Bryan (Oakdale, PA), and Aimee Fletcher and her husband Chris (Monroeville, PA). Known as “Pap” to his 12 grandchildren and new great-granddaughter, this beloved man was crazy about Kaitlyn, Lauren, Isabella, Michael, Anthony, Bennett, Reagan, Austin, Walker, Ryan, Payton, Dennis, and great-granddaughter Scarlett.
Bob also leaves behind his beloved companion dog, Dexter, often called “Dexter Doodle” every time he walked in the door.
Family and friends will celebrate his incredible life in Weirton, WV at Greco-Hertnick Funeral Home, 3219 Main Street, Weirton, WV 26062, with a viewing from noon until the 1 PM funeral service on Saturday August 26, 2023. A private burial will follow.
Pastor James Rhodes will preside.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to The Challenger Center, https://www.challenger.org/donate/ or the Cove Presbyterian Church of Weirton’s Boy Scout Troop 334, 3404 Main Street, Weirton, WV 26062.
The family greatly appreciates donations made to these charities in Robert Lee Benbow 's name.
Boy Scout Troop 334
3404 Main Street