Chester Lob, 90

Dr. Chester Lob

LINCOLN, CALIF. — Dr. Chester (Chet) Lob, 90, of Lincoln, Calif., beloved husband of Mitzi Lob, died Thursday, Jan. 12, 2017 around 7:20 a.m. at the Sutter Auburn Faith Hospital, in Auburn, Calif. attended by Mitzi, who had kept constant vigil at his bedside.

Born in New Orleans, La. on March 30, 1926, Chet spent his formative years in an area now known as the “Garden District” just a few blocks from Audubon Park. Chet attended elementary school at LaSalle Elementary School within easy walking distance from home. Chet graduated high school from Fortier H.S. in New Orleans, where he was inspired by his math teacher to pursue a lifelong interest in math and science — which served him well in college and graduate school — he never received less than an “A” in any course, graduating at the top of his class.

In the early WWII-war-years, Chet took the naval exam, which resulted in official orders to report for duty at Tulane University and join a program termed V–12. A number of such programs were started throughout the country and involved over 3,000 students destined to become educated naval officers. At Tulane, before reporting for naval duty, Chet studied engineering with special naval courses. During that time, Chet was promoted to company commander and was president of the junior and senior engineering classes and received various honors from organizations such as Tau Beta Pi, Eta Kappa Nu, Omicron Delta Kappa.

Upon graduation from Tulane with a BSEE, Chet reported for active duty on light Navy cruisers where he served in a number of Atlantic stations. He was honorably discharged from the Navy on completion of his tour of duty in 1946.

On being discharged, Chet went to RCA in Lancaster, Pa. as an engineer working on electron tube design. This early work was for color TV tubes and would shape his career going forward. In 1948, Chet left RCA to pursue graduate studies in electrical engineering at the University of Illinois where he studied, furthered the art of microwave and traveling wave tubes and received his doctorate PhD in electrical engineering in 1951. He also received a doctorate in “father-ology” when his son Clifford Godfrey was born in March 1951.

In 1955, Chet joined General Electric and he and his family moved to Palo Alto, Calif., where GE had set up an advanced development laboratory devoted to microwave tubes and technologies. He had been asked to move west and head a group working on broadband traveling wave tubes for radar and electronic countermeasures. The GE laboratory was established in proximity to other technical businesses such as Hewlett-Packard on land of Stanford University. In addition to leading color TV research on the consumer side, Chet, as the GE Laboratory general manager, led teams that researched and developed multi-megawatt klystron tubes which were and are still used in military radars for defense including early warning systems of the 1950s and 1960s, as well as in current defense radar systems. He welcomed his daughter, Robin Jennifer into the world in February 1957.

During this time, Chet met Mitzi and they were married in 1962 and remained happily so for 55 years.

In 1965, General Electric sold their microwave business to Varian Associates. A year later, Chet was asked to move to New Jersey, where he was named vice president and general manager of SFD Laboratories, a subsidiary of Varian, where he led the design and development of magnetron tubes, which are found even today in everything from consumer microwave ovens to highly-intelligent shipboard radar systems used in the U.S. arsenal and the Aegis defense systems which are found on most Navy vessels.

In the early 1970s, SFD Labs was combined with another operation and Chet and his family moved to Danvers, Mass. During this time, the Aegis program grew to include four of Varian’s divisions and in recognition of the overall importance of the program, Chet was asked to coordinate all activities as Varian’s Aegis vice president. Thus started a long and satisfying relationship with the U.S. Navy and in particular with the “father” of Aegis, Admiral Wayne Meyer.

In the mid-1980s and as chief engineer of the Varian electron device group, Chet was asked to troubleshoot the Palo Alto-based Light Sensing division which was responsible for providing night-vision goggles to Air Force and Army units. This “temporary assignment” was successful and resulted in a move back across the country in 1984 and relocation to Palo Alto and eventually buying another house in the nearby town of Menlo Park. During this period, Chet was given a number of assignments including vice president of marketing with leadership of the Varian field sales force across the world. This of course involved extensive travel. On many of these occasions, he was able to include his wife Mitzi and thus combine business with a few days of pleasure and sightseeing.

In the early 2001, Chet retired from Varian at the age of 75 and moved to a beautiful retirement community called Sun City, in Lincoln, Calif., where he and Mitzi still live.

In the early 1970s, Chet and Mitzi purchased a small lakefront “shack” in Harrison, near Mitzi’s family in Auburn. Over the years, the home was renovated and remodeled to become a lovely lakefront cottage. Chet and Mitzi would spend summer months in Maine, returning to California when the weather turned “Maine cold.” On most weekends, Chet and Mitzi would be visited by his daughter Robin and her family – her husband Steve and Chet’s grandson Ryan. Most summers, Chet’s son Cliff would join for a week or two with his wife, Robin and Chet’s two grandchildren, Logan and Chase.

During these “vacations on the lake,” there would be waterskiing, tubing, campfires and many other activities along with lots of boat trips along the lake, called “Long Lake,” and into the Songo River to a bigger lake called Sebago. At home in Harrison, Chet could be found puttering in the garden and riding his bike around Harrison, which is hilly and provides challenging riding, or skiing at nearby Sunday River. He was a Master Griller and extraordinary chef’s assistant to Mitzi. Also an excellent bartender and host, he always ensured his guests’ needs were well met.

Chet is survived by his beloved wife Mitzi of Lincoln Calif.; his daughter Robin Williams of Derry, N.H.; his son Cliff Lob of Fort Collins, Colo.; three grandchildren, loving nieces and nephews.

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