Robert Brown Brigham, 91, of Robinson, Illinois passed away on February 15, 2017 in East Wenatchee, Washington. Robert was born in Indianapolis, Indiana on March 28, 1925. He grew up in Robinson and was the second oldest of three children born to Lorin H. and Esther Brown Brigham.
In 1942, Robert enlisted in the Marine Corps and was stationed in the South Pacific. He trained to be a gunner in the Northrop P-61 Black Widow fighter plane and he fought battles on the islands of Manus, Guam, and the Battle of Peleliu on Palau. After WWII, Robert returned to Robinson where he met and then married Betty Jeanne Burns in 1947. Together, they raised six children. Robert graduated from the University of Illinois in 1953 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Microbiology. After college, Robert began his career in research and development and worked as a microbiologist for Eli Lily Pharmaceuticals in Indianapolis Indiana. Robert assisted with the development of life-saving antibiotics including Vancomycin and the Polio vaccine. In 1965, Robert moved his family to Clinton Iowa and worked as a Quality Control Manager for Standard Brands and Purina Pet Foods. In 1971, Robert returned to his hometown of Robinson by accepting a position as Quality Assurance Manager for Heath Candy Company. He bought his dream home on acreage with a lake and woods. This was Robert’s “Walden” and many happy days were shared with family while fishing, gardening, mushroom hunting, bird watching and enjoying barbeques on the patio. Robert was a devoted husband and father.
He loved his family with all his heart and his fondest memories are of his wedding day and times shared with family. Robert had a gift for teaching and he will be remembered for his love of nature and science. Robert was a kind, loving, thoughtful man who will be deeply missed by all who were fortunate to know him.
Robert was an advocate for preserving wetlands, protecting wilderness and conservation of soil and water. Robert was a member of the National Audubon Society, Izaak Walton League, Elks Lodge, Rotary Club, American Legion, and Veterans of Foreign Wars. He was also a member of several microbiology organizations and the First United Methodist Church of Robinson.
Robert was preceded in death by his wife Betty, his sons Gary and Tom, his parents, his brother Lorin Brigham, and his sister Mary Jane Bentley. Robert is survived by four children: John Brigham of Valparaiso, Indiana; Janis Brigham of Bend, Oregon; Nancy Brigham of Redwood City, California; Cynthia and her husband Robert Wallace of East Wenatchee, Washington. Also surviving are six grandchildren: Geoffrey (Melissa) Brigham of Carmel, Indiana; Melissa (Kevin) Stanner of Brookhaven, Georgia; Robert Brigham of Angleton, Texas; Sarah (Chris) Burk of Indianapolis, Indiana; Jessica Brigham of Robinson; Valerie (Thane) Tingley of Robinson. Robert has 11 great grandchildren and many nephews and nieces.
The family would like to give a special thanks to the staff at Hearthstone Retirement Community and Hospice of East Wenatchee, Washington. We are also deeply grateful to the special care and support given by Robert’s daughter and son-in-law, Cynthia and Robert Wallace.
Memorial services and burial will be held in Robinson, Illinois at a later date to be announced. Arrangements are in the care of Heritage Memorial Chapel, East Wenatchee, Washington. You are invited to view Robert’s online guestbook at www.HeritageMemorialChapel.com
Memorial contributions can be made to either the American Legion or the National Audubon Society. American Legion at 308 East Main St. Robinson, IL 62454 (618) 546-1418 Online donations can be made to the National Audubon Society “Make A Tribute Gift” in memory of Robert Brigham.