Robert Theodore Runge of Hurst, Texas, passed away peacefully in his sleep at his family’s home of 43 years on December 10th, 2020. He is survived by his wife of 53 years, Vivian Jean Young, and his four beloved children Tina Governale, Tonya Runge, Terry Rhoads and Tony Bodine. He was a grandfather to Tyler, Cody, Jimmy and Laney and a great-grandfather to Cason.
Robert was born April 12, 1928, the first of three sons of Rose and Theodore Runge, in Mankato, Minn., where he attended Mankato High School. He joined the United States Navy in 1946 and served 10 years with Honorable Discharge after serving as an Aviation Electronic Technician in the Korean War. Thereafter, he attended Christian Brothers College in Memphis, Tenn., where he received a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering, graduating with high honors in 1960. He immediately accepted a job offer with Baldwin Electronics (BEI Electronics) bringing him to Little Rock, Ark. He held numerous positions of prestige in his 35-year tenure, including Research & Development Engineer, Defense Products Division Manager, finally serving as Director of Quality Assurance. He also, during that time, entered Graduate studies and taught Physics at University of Arkansas, Little Rock. Robert would make Arkansas home for 17 years where he met the love of his life, marrying March 11 of 1967. “Jean” and “Bob” then started the beautiful family that, today and always, celebrate him. In 1977 BEI asked him to head up a new Defense Systems Division and the family moved to Hurst, Texas, the same house that they enjoyed a life rich in memories and happiness for the rest of his life. The home he provided for, over 40 years, would be a place where he enjoyed a great pride in fatherhood as his children built their character, found absolute comfort and grew into adults that will eternally carry and evolve his great legacy. Robert was highly active in community, serving as a member of the Hurst-Euless-Bedford Chamber of Commerce and formerly as a member of the City of Jacksonville, AR Planning Commission. He was deeply committed and involved with the Lutheran Church, having served as Chairman of the Board of Education for Immanuel Lutheran, North Richland Hills. He was amazingly intelligent, both handsome and cute, had a profound love for both chocolate and cherry pie, loved to talk, travel, read and problem solve. Robert was deeply loving – a sweet and gentle friend, father and husband that possessed such a brilliant heart and jovial spirit, making life with him special and joyful for all. He surely rests in peace and deservedly so, as soon shall those in grieving, that were so fortunate to have been blessed in knowing him.
A private family memorial will be planned in the coming year. In lieu of flowers, please donate to St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital.