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Obituary: Wigand Jr, Robert Charles

Updated: Sep 7, 2021

Robert Charles Wigand Jr

Wigand Jr, Robert Charles

Robert Charles Wigand Jr., 97, an engineer, surveyor, and retired Marine Corps Lt. Col. and NASA official, died July 4th at his home in Beltsville, MD of acute renal failure.

The only son of Robert C. Wigand Sr. and Marion C. Waner, Mr. Wigand was born and raised in the Grymes Hill neighborhood on Staten Island, NY, graduating from Curtis High School at the age of 16. He then attended the Colorado School of Mines and transferred to the University of Colorado to join the Marine Corps ROTC program in 1943, graduating in 1944. Serving in active duty until July 1946. Mr. Wigand remained in the Marine Corps reserves and was called to active duty for the Korean Conflict and continued to serve in the Marine Corps reserves until retiring in 1977.

After World War II, Mr. Wigand returned to New York and worked as a civil engineer for Johns Manville, Franki Foundation Co., and Burns & Roe Inc., where he served as a siting engineer for the Mercury program space flight tracking stations. He joined NASA, Goddard Space Flight Center, in 1963, holding various positions in tracking network facilities until his retirement in 1995. He remained an active member of the Goddard Retirees and Alumni Association, serving on its board and as secretary and treasurer.

Mr. Wigand was a fellow in the American Society of Civil Engineers, fellow in the American Congress of Surveying and Mapping, and member of the National Society of Professional Engineers, American Society of Military Engineers, and American Geophysical Union. An avid gardener, he was a long-time member of the Beltsville Garden Club.

Survivors include his wife, Mary Alice; his three children, Gwendolyn, James, and John; four grandchildren; and one great-grandchild. His first wife, Wanda, died in 2008 and oldest son, David, died in 1979.

He will be buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

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