Robert Wayne Persons, Jr. died peacefully at home on Tuesday, 18 July 2017 at the age of 91. Bob was predeceased by his wife of 49 years, Blanche (Gianini) Persons. Bob is survived by his second wife Catherine (Griffin) Persons of Port Washington; brother William Morrill Persons of Murrell’s Inlet, SC; sister Jane Handley of Grantham, NH; and four children: Robert Wayne III (Jean Chaisson) of Auburndale, MA; James Currier of Hicksville, NY; Jeffrey Brewster (Maryanne) of Suffolk, VA; and Nancy Alice (Michael Roth) of Santa Rosa, CA. He was beloved “Grampa Punky” to nine grandchildren: Madeleine Mercado (Steven), Daniel Persons, Mark Persons, Katherine Lewis (James), Jeffrey Persons, Jr. (Rebecca), Charles Persons, Alice Persons, Kristen Elissondo (John), and Andrew Roth (Alaina); and seven great-grandchildren: Mateo, Marcos and Sofia Mercado; Dillon and Dawson Lewis; and Lila and Marlo Elissondo.
Bob was the son of Robert Wayne Persons and Alice Mabel (Ferguson) Persons. He was born on 17 February 1926 in Knoxville, TN, and grew up in Flushing and Bayside, MY. He entered Cornell University under the “V-12” U.S. Naval Officers Training Program, where he became a member of engineering honor society Tau Beta Pi. Bob was commissioned an ensign in the U.S. Navy two days after receiving his Bachelor of Electrical Engineering degree in 1948. Bob worked in many facets of electrical engineering, eventually starting his own practice as a professional forensic engineer. Bob was a longtime member of St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Port Washington and also served on the Board of Directors of the Community Chest, as a Commissioner of the Port Washington Police Department, as a member of the Port Washington Yacht Club, and as Cub Master of Cub Scout Pack 128. He was Secretary of the Cornell Class of 1948 for 53 years, creating a unique class column in every issue of the Cornell Alumni Magazine.
He recently remarked, “I will continue this enjoyable practice until God sends me a message to rest my pen. It’s fun! Our ranks are thinning, but there are still enough of us to make a lot of noise, if not a lot of sense.” For 26 years, Bob worked on building a model of the 1799 U.S. Frigate Esssex. The model has been donated to and is on display at the U.S. Naval Academy Museum in Annapolis, MD.
Bob will be missed by all those who had the privilege of knowing him. A Memorial Service will be held at 1:30 on August 19 at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Port Washington. Funeral arrangements were entrusted to Roslyn Heights Funeral Home.