Obituary: Dr. Robert R. Ferber

Dr. Robert R. Ferber
Dr. Robert R. Ferber

Dr. Robert R. Ferber was born in New Eagle, Pennsylvania, to Rudolf F. Ferber and Elizabeth Robertson on June 11, 1935, and passed away on Jan. 31, 2020, after a long battle with Parkinson’s disease. At his side were his beloved wife, Eileen (former city editor of The Outlook) and his son Robert Jr. and daughter Lynne Case, both graduates of the La Cañada Unified School District. Bob is also survived by son-in-law Stan Case, daughter-in-law Linda Maepa and three grandchildren: Jeremy and Stephanie Case of Twin Falls, Idaho, and Bobby Ferber of Woodside, California.
He graduated from Carrick High School in Pittsburgh in 1953 after winning a science scholarship from Buhl Planetarium in Pittsburgh. While earning his B.S. in electrical engineering at the University of Pittsburgh, he worked as the audio engineer for the Pittsburgh Steelers, Pirates, Hornets (now Penguins) and Pittsburgh Symphony. He was involved in getting the first educational television station on the air, WQED in Pittsburgh. He was also one of the people responsible for getting Fred Rogers’ “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” on the air. Fred used Bob’s invention, Tele-Cam, on his show to do live TV and record film at the same time. Tele-Cam was marketed by MGM in the United States and the Rank Organization in Europe. Bob was a member of the National Society of Professional Engineers, a registered professional engineer, and life member of IEEE and Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association.
Bob attended Carnegie Tech in Pittsburgh, earning his M.S. in electrical engineering in 1966, then continued for his Ph.D. in electrical engineering at Carnegie-Mellon in 1968. During graduate school he was a research engineer at Westinghouse Research Lab in Pittsburgh. He held memberships in Sigma Phi Epsilon Fraternity, Society of Sigma Xi, Sigma Tau and Eta Kappa Nu.
Before moving his family to La Cañada Flintridge in 1977, he was a member of the Murrysville (Pennsylvania) school board.
Bob’s career at Jet Propulsion Laboratory included research management for Space Imaging Radar SP100, STS59, STS66 and SIR-C X-SAR. His last project flew several times on the space shuttle Endeavour, which is on display in the California Science Center.
His avocation was flying. He received the Department of Transportation, Federal Aviation Administration Wright Brothers “Master Pilot” award for 50 years of dedicated service in aviation safety. He was president of the Caltech Flying Club for many years. He held ratings as a private pilot, single and multi-engine, sea and instrument flight rules (IFR). He was a hang glider enthusiast, flew gliders, parasailed and made several trips in hot air balloons.
As a certified scuba diver, he held certificates for two dives to a depth of 165 feet, “over the wall,” off Andros Island in the Bahamas. He also loved skiing and traveling.
Bob was a member of the Lutheran Church in the Foothills, serving as president of the Church Council. He was a longtime member of the LCF Tournament of Roses Association, using his engineering skills in the construction of floats. He taught graduate-level management classes at USC and Edwards Air Force Base.
A celebration of Bob’s life is scheduled on Saturday, Feb. 29, at 11:30 a.m. at the Auburn Presbyterian Church, 13025 Auburn, California. The family requests any donations in Bob’s memory be sent to Auburn Presbyterian Church. Please send condolences to Eileen at 12865 Moss Rock Drive, Auburn, CA 95602 or to

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