Robert “Bob” Good, Jr. was born on October 30, 1918, in Canton, Ohio to father Robert Charles, Sr. and mother Mary. His father worked in the steel industry in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, as a sales consultant, distributing information and insight as to how to improve steel products on a molecular and chemical level, and how to change its properties to become stronger, or stainless, for example.
In the midst of the Second World War, Bob volunteered to get commission in radar and submarine school. There were 120 cadets in his class, and he held a class ranking of 13! He recalls their training at the Naval Submarine Base New London in Connecticut as a mixture of both classroom teaching and hands-on, but he vividly remembers his encounter in what was called the Escape Training Tank. Submariners would train by wearing a breathing apparatus called the Momsen Lung, which would enable them to breathe oxygen while they were pushed up through a 100-foot-long tunnel filled with water, to ensure they could escape emergencies if they had to!
Serving as a Lieutenant, Junior Grade in the US Navy from 1944-1946, Bob was fortunate to have not seen battle, and when the war was finally over, he attended Lehigh University, in Bethlehem PA, to pursue a graduate degree, and earned his PhD in physics.
Upon graduation, Bob seeked work with DuPont, in Wilmington, Delaware, contributing to their chemical manufacturing, and subsequently worked for the Franklin Institute, and the electronics company Radio Corporation of America, or RCA. When the Soviet Union successfully launched the Sputnik satellite into Earth’s orbit in 1957, the race was on for the US to prove its capabilities. Dr. Good became part of a team contracted with NASA to design an infrared camera that would be mounted inside a space capsule to monitor astronauts, or in this initial case, a chimpanzee named Ham, that was sent into orbit on a Mercury rocket, paving the way for Alan Shepard’s historic flight aboard Friendship 7.
As the decade of space exploration began winding down, members of Bob’s team moved on to other things, himself included. He went back to school, and received his teaching degree, which led him to becoming an Associate Professor of Engineering at Widener University in Chester, PA, where he taught courses in electrical engineering for ten years.
A gathering of engineers one evening in West Virginia at a large inn would prove to be a wonderful point in Bob’s life. At this conference, a secretary named Gen from one of the representing companies, was captivated by Bob, calling him “quietly intelligent.” They chatted about their hometowns, careers and history. She says he didn’t try to sell himself or “out-story” the other engineers, and she respected his humility.
Bob and Gen have two children- a daughter and son, seven grandchildren, and eighteen great-grandchildren, with one more on the way! Their daughter Jayne was living in California when Bob and Gen were retired, and they decided to move to the west, living in Rocklin, Roseville, and now Davis. They moved into Carlton when it was a brand new community, and Bob says everyone is “so kind and jovial, and perfectly willing to help.”
Bob says he is a “meat and potatoes” kind of guy, and especially loves the pastries they make here. Three words Bob would say describe him are optimistic, encouraging, educator. He enjoys fitness, and describes himself as an orderly person, working on mathematical and scientific problems and puzzles, trying to get things into “ship shape.”
Bob says he has always looked for the best qualities in people, and likes to see people improve, and fulfill their jobs.