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Robert Gerald Hoey
December 27, 1931 ~ January 9, 2024 (age 92) 92 Years Old
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Robert (Bob) Gerald Hoey passed away peacefully in his sleep at age 92 on January 9, 2024. Bob was a devoted and resilient husband, father, grandfather, brother, uncle, colleague, and friend to many throughout his lifetime.
He was born to Marion and Gerald Hoey on December 27, 1931 in Seattle, Washington and had one younger sister (Myrnie). Most of his adult life was spent in the Antelope Valley. The high desert was always “home” and yielded many close friends and wonderful memories that Bob spoke of often.
Bob’s two main hobbies, aviation and music, brought him joy into his nineties. Bob learned to play his grandfather’s cornet and joined the grade school band. From then on, he was a music man and played trumpet, and later the valve trombone, in a variety of bands/groups throughout his eighties. Flight was a fascination early on for Bob, starting with hand-launched gliders before building his first gas-powered model airplane at age 13. In high school, Bob worked at the Renton Airport where he had the opportunity to take flying lessons and earned his private pilot’s license at 17 years old (before completing driver training!). Bob went on to earn his Bachelors degree in Aeronautical Engineering from the University of Washington and joined the Air Force. He was stationed at Edwards Air Force Base in the Antelope Valley where he continued as a Civilian Flight Test Engineer until retiring in 1987. During this time he also earned his Masters degree in Systems Management from USC.
Throughout his career, Bob’s distinguished professional accomplishments include the honor of “Eagle” from the Flight Test Historical Foundation for recognition of his participation in the X-15 program. He was a recipient of the Kelly Johnson Award (2007), displayed in the National Air and Space Museum, that honors outstanding achievement in the field of Flight Test Engineering. He was also part of the Air Force Flight Test Center team that worked to test data and prepare summary briefings that were crucial for development of NASA’s Space Shuttle program. After retirement, Bob consulted with Burt Rutan on the Spaceship One program. Throughout retirement, Bob researched and built full-scale models of soaring birds (raven, turkey vulture, seagull, and pelican). He continued to enjoy flying model airplanes of every shape and size until his death. Bob left a notable impact in the field of aviation worldwide by contributing his expertise through authorship of numerous publications and books.
In Bob’s words, “the highlight of my college years was meeting Carol”. Bob and Carol (B & C) met through Myrnie and were compatible from their first meeting. The pair married at Edwards Air Force Base in 1955. She was his copilot in life, raising their son Richard and daughter Teri, as well as in travel, whether by air in their home-built BD-4 airplane or road tripping in their RV. To quote him once more, “[My life] was exciting, fulfilling, and full of challenges. Carol and all of my family and friends have been the very best influence on my life that I could ever have hoped for”.
Bob is preceded in death by his wife Carol. He is survived by his son Richard (Tink) Hoey, daughter Teri (Rick) Alvarez, and granddaughters Ashley Alvarez and Michelle Hoey. A celebration of Bob’s life will take place at Lancaster Presbyterian Church (1661 W Lancaster Blvd) on Saturday February 24, 2024 at 11:00am with reception to follow.
The family requests those who wish to express sympathy to consider making a donation to the Flight Test Museum Foundation in Bob’s name (https://flighttestmuseum.org).