Robert F. McCune, son of Robert and Rose (Tschannen) McCune, passed away May 5, 2019 in Ottawa, Illinois at the age of 81.
Bob was born in Shippensburg, PA on June 8, 1937 and was soon diagnosed with Type I Diabetes at a time when the disease was almost always fatal. Managing it first through extreme diet and exercise, and then later insulin injections, he was among the first Type I diabetics to live a normal life.
He grew up on a farm in Shippensburg, helping to care for a variety of livestock and crops while his father was often away as an engineer for the Pennsylvania Railroad. Bob and his mother, a former singer and piano player, made the farm a profitable enterprise during the lean years during and after the Depression.
A largely self-taught engineer, Bob built a variety of projects based on magazine articles and his own ideas. One device he designed and constructed was a radio transmitter/receiver that enable him to communicate with his dad while doing his chores. They had to stop using this device when neighbors told them the broadcast could be heard on radios throughout the area.
Bob left Shippensburg immediately after graduating from high school and worked a variety of construction and engineering jobs while working his way through college. After moving to New Jersey and beginning his telecommunications engineering career at Bell Laboratories, he married Mary Elizabeth Maurer. The couple relocated to Illinois soon after the birth of their children Timothy Steven and Barbara Carol. The family lived in the Lake Holiday section of Sandwich, IL, with Bob serving on Lake Holiday’s property owners’ board.
Bob was one of the founding employees of Bell Lab’s Indian Hill facility in Naperville, IL. There he met a group of engineers who had a country/folk band called the RFD and introduced them to a singer he’d met at the family’s church, Debbie McKee. Bob produced the group’s sole album, Lead Me Home, in 1971. The album, while not a commercial success, has become a cult classic, receiving highly complimentary reviews and sometimes selling for more than $1,000 on Ebay.
A serial entrepreneur, Bob started many businesses. Soon after moving to Illinois, he began buying small, vacant apartment buildings in Chicago, renovating them himself and selling them for a profit after finding new tenants. He later established an Indian motorcycle dealership in Somonauk, IL and several high-tech firms, including Romac Computers.
During his career as a telecommunications career, Bob was awarded at least five patents for his innovative design work at Bell Labs and MCI Worldcom. His design area was working on the complex switching systems used to route calls.
After his marriage to Mary ended in divorce in 1984, Bob relocated to Texas and eventually Forsyth, Missouri. There he and his wife, Carol, developed and maintained a 54-acre rural homestead while enjoying the entertainment activities of nearby Branson, MO. The couple was active in the Community Presbyterian Church in Forsyth.
He is survived by his loving children, Barbara (Tim) McGregory of Sheridan and Timothy (Robin) McCune of Hermosa Beach, CA. Six grandchildren, Bryana (Charles) Deak, Brittany (Adam) Suchsland, Brandi (Tim) Brann, Shannon McGregory, Clark and Caroline McCune. Great granddaughter, Kennedy Elizabeth Brann.
He is preceded in death by his parents, Frank and Rose and a brother, Leon