Published in the October 25, 2016 edition.

Morleyobit-webWAKEFIELD — Robert Austin Morley, 83, of Wakefield,  died peacefully on the evening of Oct. 21.

Robert was born Oct. 1, 1933 in Pittsburgh, Pa. to John and Dorothy Beau (Marlowe) Morley. His family moved to 35 Park Ave., Wakefield, in 1944 where Robert attended the H. M. Warren School and later was graduated from Wakefield High School in the class of 1951. Robert’s early hands-on interest in electronics led him to earn a bachelor of science degree in Electrical Engineering from Tufts University College of Engineering in 1956.

After graduation Bob was employed by Dunn Engineering Associates in Cambridge where he designed electronics for military intercontinental reconnaissance balloons. In the mid-1960s he was recruited by RCA in Burlington to work on Navy aerial antisubmarine warfare magnetic anomaly detection electronics for surveillance aircraft. Bob was then tapped to work on RCA’s NASA Apollo moon landing project, developing three electronics packages for the Lunar Excursion Module (LEM): the Descent Engine Control Assembly, the Attitude Translation Control Assembly and rendezvous radar electronics, the latter two for the Ascent Stage of the LEM. For his exemplary NASA contributions, RCA awarded Bob its highest corporate honor, the David Sarnoff Gold Medal. After the close of the Apollo program, Bob worked for Thomson General Corporation in Burlington, where he engineered the electronics for resistance-welding devices.

In the late 1970s Bob retired from corporate employment to focus on two entrepreneurial pursuits. With his older brother John and younger brother Doug, Bob expanded the portfolio of their residential real estate business, Morley Realty Trust, with properties in Wakefield, Reading and Melrose. His enduring passion for radio led Bob to form a partnership – Hampshire County Broadcasting – which acquired WTTT-AM in Amherst and in 1990 launched a new FM station, WRNX, which served news and music to the Pioneer Valley.

Active in the Wakefield community, Bob was elected twice to the Wakefield School Committee in the 1970s and was a vocal civic affairs participant in town meetings throughout his life. He was also a member of the West Side Social Club and a long-time board member of the Colonel James Hartshorne House Association whose annual breakfasts Bob helped organize. Since 1965, Bob and Marilyn were active members of St. Joseph Catholic Church in Wakefield; they were also active in St. Joan of Arc Church in Orleans, and St. Anne Catholic Church in Naples, Fla.

Robert was married to Marilyn R. Rossetti on May 23, 1959 at the Immaculate Conception Church in Revere. With his wife, Robert raised five children – including two sets of twins – in their Park Avenue house just three doors down from the house where Bob grew up. Throughout their marriage, Bob and Marilyn enjoyed international travel, live music and theater and participating in civic and charity activities.

In the 1980s, Bob and Marilyn built a second home near Nauset Beach in Orleans where their family spent summers. Frequent winter travel to Florida led them to acquire a condominium in Naples, Fla. After his wife suffered a stroke in 2009, Bob and Marilyn made their primary residence on Park Street near Wakefield’s Upper Common; he was present with his beloved Marilyn when she passed away on June 1, 2014 in Wakefield.

Bob was never lonely, surrounded by a constant stream of visiting family and friends; he still traveled to Florida during winter months and enjoyed visits to Orleans and the North Shore Music Theater.

Robert is survived by his five children: R. Curtis Morley of Londonderry, N.H., John Morley and his wife Jennifer of Tewksbury, Marianna (Morley) Montague and her husband John of Apollo Beach, Fla., Joseph S. Morley of North Reading and Dorothy Beau Morley and her husband Jonathan Fountain of Wayland; his six grandchildren: Annemarie, Leanne, David, Olivia, Adam and Cassandra; his great-grandson Jayden; and his brother-in-law Joseph Rossetti and wife Barbara of Salem, N.H. and their children Catherine and Samuel.

His funeral will be held from the McDonald Funeral Home, 19 Yale Ave., Wakefield on Thursday, Oct. 27, at 9 a.m. followed by a funeral Mass in St. Joseph Church,
173 Albion St., Wakefield at  10 o’clock. Visitation for relatives and friends will be held at the  funeral home on Wednesday,  Oct. 26, from 4 to 8 p.m.