Robert Howard (Bob) Schuppe was born on Sept. 3, 1935, in Oak Park, Ill. — amidst The Great Depression. The oldest of three, Bob naturally took charge, delivering newspapers and running trap-lines to help feed the family — always a hard worker.
In high school, he started dating the stunningly gorgeous Barbara Mae Snell — Wow, what a beauty! She loved his “rebel spirit.” Earning a scholarship to the Coast Guard Academy on the East Coast kept them apart for two years, before returning to finish his undergraduate studies at Illinois Institute of Technology. It took him just three years to get a degree in electrical engineering.
The day after graduation, Bob and Barbara were married (again, he was smart). Their honeymoon was a drive to Quantico, Va., where Bob was commissioned as a second lieutenant. He planned to be a fighter pilot — that was his passion -— and it landed him in the early years of the Vietnam War, facing the dangers of combat. Fortunately, he returned safely — the same could not be said of many others from his squadron. Now a family with four children, they relocated to Bob’s new station, El Toro Marine Corps Air Station.
Mid ’60’s: Southern California, marine fighter pilot, beautiful wife, wow!
Before returning to civilian life, Bob earned a master’s degree in aeronautical engineering. Once again a civilian, he became an engineer for the Hughes Aircraft Company, loving the challenge enough to face a daily hour-long commute into Los Angeles. The unique perspective of an experienced fighter pilot helped tremendously when designing radar for state-of-the-art fighter planes. He was project manager for the development of both the F-15 and F-18 radars. Later, he helped to design prototypes of small-array radars, now found in Stealth aircraft. He could have lived closer to work, but Orange County, at that time, was more to his liking — wide open and rural, so he settled the family there.
He took his family on many trips to the Sierra Nevada and local mountains for backpacking and rock climbing adventures. To stay in shape for climbing, he began road cycling, joining a memorable cast of characters on local rides. The whole family was soon riding together; this passion lasted the rest of his life.
A wonderful mix of music played in the house — folk music, as well as classical. He and Barbara made frequent trips to Los Angeles for concerts. A local college production of Mozart’s “Magic Flute” ignited a huge love for opera and theater that flourished, year after year.
1989: Retirement … from paid work at least
With the kids now on their own, a dream of moving to the country could be fulfilled; the two of them built a beautiful home on 18 acres of forest land in Hood River County, with a stream running through it. Turns out Bob was not the retiring kind and fishing gave way to joining the local planning commission. Later, he became the chairman of the local county commission, doing what he could to wisely steer the burgeoning growth throughout Hood River County.
In 2005, they reluctantly decided that their country driveway was just too long to keep plowing in winter, so they built a new home closer to town. In more recent years, there were many trips: Wintering in the California desert, the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Ride Around Washington, Oregon Bicycle Ride, Cycle Oregon, San Francisco & Seattle Operas, just to name a few of the adventures. And new interests — now and then joining Barbara on Sundays at her church, Hood River Alliance.
Wife: Barbara Mae Schuppe
Children: Timothy Frederick Schuppe, Barbara Ann Schuppe Mattson, Michael Lester Schuppe, Robert Allen Schuppe
Grandchildren: Eric Robert Schuppe, Alex William Schuppe; Evan Riley Schuppe
Brother: Russell Schuppe
Arrangements are under the direction of Anderson's Tribute Center (Funerals • Receptions • Cremations), 1401 Belmont Avenue, Hood River. Visit www.AndersonsTributeCenter.com to leave a note of condolence for the family.