Robert "Bob" Steven Baron

  • Born: August 6, 1939
  • Died: June 6, 2014
  • Location: Lancaster, California

Tribute & Message From The Family

As Pops would frequently say, "Outstanding!"

Bob Baron August 6, 1939 – June 6, 2014

Robert "Bob" S. Baron, age 74, passed away from complications of surgery on June 6, 2014, in Lancaster, CA.

Bob was born in Manhattan, NY on August 6, 1939 and had lived in the Antelope Valley for 50 years.

Bob graduated from Youngstown University with dual degrees in math and physics. Being inspired by President Kennedy's quote, "We will put a man on the moon," he chose a career at NASA Dryden (now Armstrong) Flight Research Center and moved to Lancaster in 1961.

"NASA Bob" dedicated 40 years of his life to NASA and worked on many historic flight projects, including the Lunar Landing Research Vehicle (LLRV) and the Space Shuttle.

"Coach" Baron contributed 20 years to volunteering and promoting youth sports programs in the Antelope Valley, including hockey, baseball, softball, and football. His teams won many championships at the state and regional levels. Before becoming a coach, Bob played on NASA's Industrial League basketball and softball teams.

Everyone knew him affectionately by his favorite nickname, "Pops." He was an avid Cleveland Browns fan for over 60 years.

He was a member of Sacred Heart Church and a member of the Elk's Lodge #1625.

Pops is joining his predeceased family; parents Matthew "Max" and Christine Baron and his sister Anne Baron.

Bob is survived by his wife, Patricia (Gavin) Baron and her children David and Shannon (Killebrew) Gavin, Wendy Gavin, Kelly Cerda and David Melchor. Her 5 grandchildren: Tiffany, Brody, Christine, Colin, and Cameron, all of whom have been a joyful addition to his life.

Pops is survived by his ex-wife Sally (Kopatich) Baron, of San Marcos, CA and his 2 children Sean and wife Linda (Reel) Baron, of Virginia Beach, VA and Cynthia Maevers and hubs Eric French, of Las Vegas, Nevada.

Pops is survived by his 7 grandchildren; Rhett, McKenna and Shane Baron; Heather, Kagan, and Rhianna Maevers; Ethan French, and his first great grandson, Logan Rylee Maevers.

Pops will be sadly missed by his family, many loving friends and associates, many of whom he has known for more than 50 years. Those who were privileged to work with him when he was a Project Manager knew him to be very energetic and quite "creative" in finding ways to get it done, despite the scarcity of resources.

A service is scheduled for 2pm on Friday, August 22, 2014 at
Father Serra Parish Catholic Church
42121 60th St W, Lancaster, CA 93536
(661) 943-9314

A reception will immediately follow the service in the hall.

A Mass Intention is being recited for him at Sacred Heart Church on December 24, 2014.

For more information, email

In lieu of flowers, please make a contribution in his honor, to the American Cancer Society.

Condolences can be sent in Bob's name to
Halley-Olsen-Murphy Mortuary
44831 N. Cedar Avenue
Lancaster, CA 93534
Phone: (661) 942-1139, Randy

As Pops would frequently say,


Condolence & Memory Journal

My Friend Bob is lifting the joy of all in heaven by simply explaining to all the angels what an outstanding place they all get to spend eternity in....Im so sad he left us so early

Posted by Larry Biscayart - Lancaster, CA - 30 year Nasa friend and coworker   June 29, 2014

We are so sorry to hear of Bob's passing. Bob and family will be in our prayers.
Our sincere condolences,
Mike and Betsy Vierra

Posted by Mike Vierra - CA   June 29, 2014

I was shocked to learn of the sudden passing of Bob. I knew Bob when we both served as project managers on various programs at Dryden over the years and I was fortunate enough to be over the Project Office when Bob was manager of the CV-990 Shuttle Testbed Aircraft project.

Bob was a gifted Projact Manager. He possessed a natural charisma and always conveyed a positive, "can do" attitude that was contagious to all who were fortunate enough to be associated with the projects that he led. He was always obsessed with solving technical problems in ways that minimized impacts on costs and schedules and seemed always able to do so regardless of the magnitude of the problem.

When the CV-990 Shuttle Support Test program was completed, Bob was unable to attend the out-briefing to the JSC Shuttle Program Office, due to the passing of his father, and ask if I would attend in his place. I agreed to due so, and will asways remember the accolades on Bobs behalf, by the JSC Shuttle Program personnel in support of Bob and his team. It was a great testament to how Bob always carried the flag of Dryden every where he went and in what he did.

He was a great example of the Dryden "can do" spirit.

He will be missed.

Posted by Cal Jarvis - Spokane, WA - Longtime Dryden Associate   June 28, 2014

Bob sat with us at our 50th HS reunion. I swear the champagne bottle he bought was a least 1.5 gallons! So we really got into the memories of the times and it was great to see his eyes crinkle and hear him laugh. We are sad that he's gone but we will remember him always.


Frank & Mary Ann Konya
Campbell Memorial Class of '57
YSU Class of '62

Posted by Frank and Mary Ann Konya - Avon, OH - Friend & HS & College Classmate   June 27, 2014


So many fond memories of Christmas and Four of July filled with Bob's hearty laugh. The joy and celebrations were always punctuated with that laugh! I will blast the patriotic music this Fourth and remember you sweet guy!

Posted by Tana Talbot Bailey - Springfield, VA - Family friend   June 25, 2014

Bob's robust laugh echoes in my memory. I can still remember my mom saying, "OMG, that laugh!" as we sat around the table talking after dinner. His laugh was as healthy as his positive attitude . . . I don't recall ever hearing him make a negative comment about anyone or anything. His positive outlook and enthusiasm was a rare and wonderful thing.

Posted by Shirley (Kopatich) Kotchou - Pickerington, OH - Ex-sister-in-law   June 25, 2014

I knew Bob Baron to be an extraordinary project manager who led projects that few others, anywhere, could accomplish. He had an unmatched skills in securing team members within the Center, across Centers, and across the country. He sought the people he needed on the project, got to know them personally, gave them mind-bending challenges, and then gave them enormous responsibility to solve the problems.

On inter-center projects, each Center considered Bob to be working for THEM, and he was. . He always worked for the benefit of the Project Team, for the Client and Sponsor, for NASA, and for the Nation. He was parochial only for project success.

For the many years I knew Bob, when he asked me for anything, for any level, of support, I yielded to his judgement. I trusted him with anything I had.

His enthusiasm was his trademark. He pushed himself very hard, too hard sometimes. But everyone I know who worked with Bob grew to have great respect and admiration for him and would do anything for him. I am one of them. His personal style...loud, soft, funny, questioning, were all part of his very serious commitment to safety and success.

In my first week as Director, Bob casually asked me to join him on a trip to JSC to brief them on the CV-990 Shuttle Tire Test Project and meet the senior JSC people sponsoring the program. On the airplane, Bob mentioned for the first time that he needed a 'couple million' more from JSC and my job was to support the increased funding need, and commit to a successful outcome! I did. JSC was forthcoming, and this important project for the orbiter was 100% successful.

When Bob Baron was in motion, the "unstoppable force" overcame "the immovable object."

The Armstrong Flight Research Center was defined by the likes of Bob Baron. We will not forget the life and work of Bob Baron. May God bless the Baron family with the assurance of His grace for Bob and for them.

Kenneth J. Szalai
Former AFRC Director

Posted by Kenneth J. Szalai - Palmdale, CA - Colleague for decades in NASA   June 19, 2014

Bob was bigger than life and led the fun at our Heyer Street get togethers. Our Fourth of July block parties centered at the Baron's pool and wouldn't have been as much fun without his joy and enthusiasm. Rest in Peace. My condolences to his family.

Posted by Glodean Gates - Lancaster, CA - neighbor   June 19, 2014

I always remember Bob coming to my mom's house and scrounging food. His first stop was the refrigerator. Bob was, to say the least, full of energy, always had a hearty laugh, and very proud of his accomplishments. When our son was 6, Bob gave him the biggest thrill by taking him through the NASA facility and letting him sit in the planes, etc. He had the ability to make people feel special.

The Ohio crew sends their deepest sympathy for the loss of a pioneer in the US space race! Uncle Max was so proud of his son, a project director at NASA.

Pat, Sally, Sean, Cindy and families, we send our prayers, and thoughts to you at this difficult time.

Posted by Abby Barone - Canfield, OH - 1st cousin   June 19, 2014

Bob was an OUTSTANDING co-worker. His voice and presence will be etched in the halls of NASA @ Bldg. 4800. He was full of life! GOD SPEED Bob!

Posted by Patricia Kinn - Edwards AFB, CA - Co-Worker   June 18, 2014

You brought great joy to all who knew you. Your bold laughter has been silenced, but your memory will remain. Goodby dear neighbor and friend.

Posted by Terry Willibrand - Lancaster, CA - neighbor and friend   June 18, 2014

As a tour guide at NASA I always appreciated Bob's enthusiasm in sharing what he did which at the time was X-38-- it was a joy to have known him and my thoughts and prayers are with his family-- celebrate a life well lived!! J

Posted by Mary Ann Harness - Rosamond, CA - Co-worker   June 18, 2014

I worked in the same Bldg with Bob in the mid 1990s, what an awesome man he was. I'm blessed to have to known him. I will be praying for his family.

Posted by Cyndi Holland - Phoenix, AZ - Co-worker   June 18, 2014


Loved his laughter and talking to him was so inspiring. I worked in finance and would help him with questions on funding. Such a great man.

Posted by Cindy Brandvig - California City, CA - Co-Worker and freind   June 18, 2014


We are deeply saddened to hear of Bob's passing. He will always have a special place in our hearts. I will never forget the donuts he brought to me EVERY morning while I worked with him at NASA...his amazing smile and love of life...and his response whenever someone asked how he was "OUTSTANDING"! Nor will I ever forget the many get-togethers with your family. We are truly Blessed to know and love Bob and the entire Baron family.
Love, Hugs and Prayers!
Tim, Candi, Jacob, Melody & Tommy Mertes

Posted by Candi & Tim Mertes and Family - Warrensburg, MO - friend   June 18, 2014

"Beautiful Bob" will always be one of the most memorable characters I've ever known! Bob was never conventional! Memorably, when it became obvious that an F-4 program he was managing was not salvagable, he put on a full Samari costume (complete with large sword!) to tell the Center Director the project was dead!

Although his style was much different then mine, I came to admire his remarkable ability meld his team into a focused entity which delivered!

I'll miss his full-volume "OUTSTANDING" echoing down the hall!

Don Gatlin

I just realized how many exclamation points I used. Seems appropriate to describe Bob.

Posted by Don Gatlin - Palmdale, CA - Co-worker at NASA   June 18, 2014

"Outstanding" was Bob's career at the Armstrong Research Center - His career spanned many "political" changes including the name of our beloved Flight Research Center. Bob was an icon at work --- you always knew whne he was around. He demonstrated his enthusiasm for his projects he managedboth in all aspects _ technical, team building, professionally and emotionally. I was inspired by him as I followed him him in my career as project manager. He was a pleasure to work with and always had the time for a chat.
My prayers to all his family for peace and comfort during these difficult days --- He will be truly missed by us all.
God's blessings, Louis Steers

Posted by Louis Steers - Santa Ana, CA - co-worker   June 18, 2014

I was the secretary for the Dir of Projects in the 70's...Bob was my go-to-guy to get things done..he was like a big brother who was always there to make things better. God bless Bob and all his family.

Posted by Patti Apprill - Hollister, MO - Friendl   June 18, 2014


I'm so sorry to hear of Bob's passing. He was larger than life - a wonderful friend and great Project Manager at NASA. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your families.

Posted by Jan Purifoy - Lancaster, CA - NASA Friend and Co-Worker   June 17, 2014

Bob definitely was one of the most known and loked people at "dryden" Armstrong. i was on the credit union supervisory committee with him and our meetings were always memorrable. there were five on the committtee with Bob as the chair. i remember him saying he never got more than 2-3 hours of sleep so as not to sleep his life away. He packed more into one day than most of us do in three. we will miss him

Posted by cindy - lancaster, CA - coworker   June 17, 2014

Bob will be missed. He always had a smile--sometimes an interesting way of getting things done--but he was always smiling.

Posted by Al Harris - Kasilof, AK - Ex-co worker   June 17, 2014

Baron Family-
I'm sorry to hear about Bob's passing. His influences I still carry today. I thank him for what he gave me, hockey titles, baseball, swim parties and my first taste of Filet Mignon.

God Bless.

From the Willibrand family, our condolences.

Steve Willibrand

Posted by Steve Willibrand - Santa Clarita, CA - Friend   June 17, 2014

Bobby was just like a big brother to me. His mom and dad were my Godparents and I spent time there every summer. His sister Annie used to stay with us when my mom and dad (aunt Helen and uncle Jerry) would go to Florida during the winter. He will be truly missed and was a great man.

Posted by Peggy Pizzo Cassella - boston, MA - 1st cousin   June 17, 2014

May you find peace and comfort. You will always be in your family's heart.

Posted by Sally Baron - San Marcos, CA - Ex-wife   June 17, 2014


Dear Family and Friends

Thank you so much for your kindness and support through this very difficult loss.

Everyone that knew Pops knew that he celebrated and enjoyed his life to the fullest.

He loved going to his job everyday at NASA for 40 years and loved the Antelope Valley and lived in his same house for 50 years.

He loved his family and extended family and never complained about anything.

He love playing racquetball with John Perry for 50 years and he loved his Cleveland Browns for 60 years.

His life as he would say was, "OUTSTANDING!

Now he rests in peace and joins his predeceased family.

So please join his family in saying a prayer for Pops!

Eternal rest grant unto Pops , O Lord,
and let perpetual light shine upon him .
May the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.

Thank you
Cynthia and family

Posted by Cynthia Baron Maevers - Las Vegas, NV - Daughter   June 16, 2014