Robert Max Beal died after a prolonged illness, on March 8, 2012 in Bountiful, Utah, at the age of 69. He was born in Sacramento, California, on November 16, 1942 to George Max and Virginia Smith Beal. The eldest of three sons, he was raised in College Park, Maryland, and during his youth lived a year each in Athens, Greece and Oslo, Norway, where his father had Fulbright grants. He was preceded in death by his parents and one brother, Richard Smith Beal. He is survived by his wife of forty years, Kay Ferrell Beal, a daughter Beatrice Elena Hernandez, two sons, John Jairo Beal, and Brian Robert Beal, four grandchildren, and one brother George Max Beal II. He married Kay Ferrell in the Salt Lake Temple; the couple spent their first five years in China Lake, California, and has lived in Farmington, Utah, for the past thirty-five years.
Bob graduated from Brigham Young University with Bachelor's and Master's Degrees in Electrical Engineering. He remembered with fondness working on the sound systems at the Palmyra New York Pageant during two summers after high school. Through out his 33-year professional career, he worked for the Department of Defense, first at China Lake, California, and then, for the last 28 years, at Hill Air Force in Ogden, Utah. He made substantial contributions to national defense initiatives, in particular the development of defense related computer-based products, including work on software engineering for air to air missile guidance systems, He was one of the first to work on GPS guidance systems for the F-16s. For over 22 years, he made valuable contributions to the work of the Joint Technical Coordinating Group for Munitions Effectiveness, a national defense multi-branch coordinating group. In 1997 he received the Dakepenta award from the JTCG/ME and in 2005 an alumnus recognition award from the BYU Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. Bob and several colleagues assisted Weber State University's engineering students in designing the first college constructed satellite. The initial project plans were conceived over Bob's dinner table. He applied to his professional career the same unrelenting work ethic that characterized all of his efforts to overcome the obstacles he faced in life.
Bob loved to be with family and friends and enjoyed his work colleagues. He took special pride in his work. He had a great love and understanding for the gospel of Jesus Christ and held many callings in the LDS Church. An avid reader, he had special interest in engineering, statistics and the gospel. He always had a book in hand. He was a great example to his children and others.
All who know Bob well were impressed with his great resilience, indomitable will, keen mind, sociability and good cheer. Even though he struggled physically with cerebral palsy, he did not let that define his life—at his core, he was confident of his ability to tackle, without special concessions, all of the challenges that others face. He did not expect nor want special treatment, and wanted his work and efforts to be measured on their own merits.
The viewing will be at the Russon Brothers Mortuary at 1941 North Main, Farmington, Utah, on Friday, March 16 from 6-8 p.m. The funeral service will be held in the Fairviews Ward Chapel, 1533 North 1075 West, Farmington, Utah on Saturday, March 17th, at 11 a.m. A pre-service viewing will begin at 9:45 a.m. on Saturday. Later in the day, the internment will be at the Fielding, Utah cemetery, where Bob's parents and other family members are buried. For health reasons, Kay will not be able to attend the viewings; family and friends are welcome to visit her in her apartment at Heritage Place, 1150 S. Main Street, Bountiful, Utah.
The family has requested that, in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the Primary Children's Medical Center, Salt Lake City. Online guest book at www.russonmortuary.com.