Rest in peace, my darling

Our brilliant Renaissance man, Robert Edwin Sharples, died after a long illness this past Sunday, November 22, 2020. Born on February 4, 1937 in Ridgewood Queens New York, he was eighty-three years old. He moved to California in 1961 and became a resident of Manhattan Beach ten years later.

Bob had a long career in aerospace as an engineering manager and proposal manager. He managed numerous very large proposals for Northrop Grumman/TRW, including James Webb, National Polar-Orbiting Environmental Satellite System (NPOESS), and Jupiter Icy-moons Orbiter (JIMO). The sum of the winning bids for the list of proposals he managed is nearly nine billion dollars.

He also worked on the development of the US Air Force’s Minuteman III MIRV ballistic missile weapon system, serving as the Manager of Systems Engineering and Test for the Minuteman Program Office in charge of the testing of the weapon system.

Other management work included the development of real-time software for the Hard-site Defense system, a US Army development of an operational anti-ballistic missile system. This assignment included almost two years in residence at the Kwajalein atoll engaged in live testing of the radar and software product against live Minuteman III launches from Vandenberg Air Force Base in CA; Systems Engineering & Integration Manager for the NASA AXAF (Chandra) x-ray telescope spacecraft, and Program Manager for the ROCSAT satellite program for the Republic of China on Taiwan, requiring him to visit Taiwan fifteen times.

Bob graduated from Brooklyn Technical High School, The Cooper Union, New York, with a B.S. in Chemical Engineering; University of California, Berkeley, with a M.A. in Mathematics, and University of California, Los Angeles, Executive Management Training program.

Bob is survived by his loving family and friends – his wife of over fifty years, Madeline, his son, Ben, his daughter-in-law, Marissa, his sister, Frances, his sister and brother-in-law, Sheila and Tom, his sister-in law, Barbara, numerous nephews and nieces, and many friends. He was predeceased by his sons, Paul and Eric, his brother Richard, his brother-in-law, Ken, and his parents, Ingrid and Frank Sharples.

Bob will always be remembered for his inquiring mind, his ability to speak on most any subject, his love of poetry and the arts, his warmth and charisma, his outgoing and fun personality, and his truly loving spirit.

To make a donation in Bob’s memory please go to:

Congregation Tikvat Jacob Beth Torah:

The Cooper Union:

Or Crossroads School: designated to the Paul Sharples Endowment Fund in support of the jazz program.



  1. Mike O'Mary says

    Dear Madeline, I am very sorry to hear of Bob’s passing. My deepest sympathies to you, Ben and Marissa. If there’s anything I can do to help during this time or in the days ahead, please let me know. Sending lots of love your way. Mike

  2. Dear Madeline, these words honoring Bob reflect the depth of your love and devotion. My thoughts and prayers will be with you through this journey.


    Ohhh Madeline,
    Just heard. My heart is with you. Holding you with much caring and loving thoughts.

  4. Frolic Taylor says

    Madeline and Bob – I remember feeling your deep partnership at LAWHE and it made a life long impression on me. I believe it is for forever and that you Bob will “come in” often to your beloved Madeline to soothe her soul.
    A big heart hug to you both, Frolic

  5. James H. McCall says

    I was so moved and grateful, Madeline, to experience today’s extraordinary memorial service for Bob; it was a most fitting tribute to him. We are left with the remembrance of the inspirational and luminous life he led and shared with you and all who knew him, even the least. While we all have hearts feeling sadness, they also are filled with the joys and light of his memory and the respect he engendered.

    With fondest regards and wishes.


  6. Have fond memories of both of you!
    Warm alohas,
    Fred Spanjaard

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