In Remembrance: Robert J. Light ’54E Died on April 3 2014

Bob Light ’54 passed away on April 3, 2014.  He grew up in North Caldwell, New Jersey, and worked in his family transformer business in Newark before beginning an electrical engineering degree at Yale in the class of 1954. After graduation he spent a year studying at the Yale Divinity School. He worked for several companies in New Haven and other Connecticut cities before establishing himself as a consulting engineer, in which field he worked on projects throughout the United States designing and prototyping transformers and related equipment.

He made his home for more than 50 years in Guilford, Connecticut, and maintained close friendships with numerous Yale people, including Terry and Steve Bogan ’51, ’52MEng; Nancy and Dick Boynton ’56; Alice (’59MA) and Fred Bunnell ’55, ’58MA; Nobby and John Goldsmith ’52; Barbara and Roger Letts ’52; Gita and Juris Padegs ’54, ’57LLB; Janet and Elek Poss ’53; Carol and Dick Shank ’45W, ’50MEng; Lilian and Paul Shiman ’53; Carol and Theron Usher ’53; and Earl Ronald MacCormac ’55E, ’58BD, ’61PhD; as well as Chuck Forman, a professor at the Yale Divinity School.  Bob was also a member of the Hale Foundation, a Yale undergraduate society.

Bob was an avid canoeist, and one of his favorite trips was down the Allagash River in Maine with Paul Shiman. As on several other canoeing adventures, the whitewater they encountered resulted in some crushed canoe ribs and torn canvas, requiring field repairs with wire and duct tape. Many Yale friends also joined Bob on annual camping trips, usually in the White Mountains in New Hampshire.

Bob’s sense of humor, tolerance, and appreciation of human foibles made him easy to get along with. This character is reflected in his favorite poem, “The Deacon’s Masterpiece, or the Wonderful ‘One-Hoss Shay’” by Oliver Wendell Holmes, and his favorite song, “The Walloping Window Blind” by Charles E. Carryl.  He also appreciated “The Deacon’s Masterpiece” for its apotheosis of the qualities of different trees. Bob spent some of his teenage years aloft as a tree surgeon, and he heated his home with wood, usually felled and split with friends, beginning in the energy crisis of the 1970s.

In an essay from the January 1952 issue of the Yale undergraduate magazine Et Veritas—edited by Paul Shiman, and including contributions by several prominent Yalies—Bob wrote that in the era of nuclear weapons universities should make greater efforts to provide students with the grounds for understanding “the major problems” of today that scientists and engineers “formerly considered outside of their area of responsibility.” He argued that “the engineer without the humanities is blind…. Decisions must be made on problems he has never considered; and he is ill-equipped to examine them closely or to decide confidently on a course of action.” Throughout his life, Bob went beyond engineering to participate in politics and local governance. He was active on town committees, especially related to wetlands management and conservation.

Bob leaves his beloved wife of 39 years, Gloria; his loving children: Nathan ’84, Theo, Ronald, Allison, and Alan; and grandchildren Julia ’18, Becca, Samantha, Benjamin, Naomi, and Kiril.

An In Memoriam website for Bob is on Facebook at: The Et Veritas issue mentioned above, with all of the contributions included, can be read at:

—Submitted by the family.

Post a remembrance