Former Observatory Director Robert Andress, Jr.

Photo: Robert Andress, Jr.
Robert “Bob” Andress, Jr. During a Visit to Stephens in 2008

We have received word that Robert Andress, Jr., former director of the Stephens Memorial Observatory, died on May 11, 2015. He was a 1953 graduate of Hiram College and active in astronomy for most of his life. Andress touched many lives as he conducted observatory sessions for the public and for college classes for many years.

Of his time at Hiram, Andress once wrote, “I found that Hiram College had a nice little observatory with a 9-inch refractor and that it was not being used. I found the keys at the college registrar’s office and became the ‘director’, tour guide, and custodian for 28 years. The observatory was a non-paying job except for free admission to plays, concerts and athletics at the college but it led to another job that did pay well in dollars and satisfaction. In 1969 I became the Director of the Planetarium for Warrensville City schools in Warrensville Heights, Ohio….”

Andress was born in Easton, Penn., on October 14, 1931. He served for 21 months in the U.S. Army. He married Lois in April 1954, and had three daughters, Nancy Lindelof, Barbara Andress and Sally Magargee; as well as 11 grandchildren, and seven great-grandchildren. He taught for 30 years, grades 7-8, high school, and some at Hiram College.

Upon retirement, Andress moved from Ohio to Green Valley, Arizona where he was very active in the Sonora Astronomical Society and continued other astronomical pursuits. He reportedly retired as a planetarium director in 2010. We last saw him in Hiram during Alumni Weekend about two years ago when he visited the Observatory for what was to sadly be the last time.

Associates in Arizona informed us that no funeral service was held, “…(the) understanding is that he wanted everything done quietly.”

Photo: Robert Andress, Jr. with an Observatory Visitor.
Robert Andress, Jr. with an Observatory Visitor During a 1975 Meeting of the Great Lakes Planetarium Association.

6 thoughts on “Former Observatory Director Robert Andress, Jr.

  1. Nancy Andress Lindelof August 8, 2015 / 6:32 pm

    What a nice tribute. My dad made me love the stars and skies as much as he did. I didn’t do as much in science as he nor do I have his math abilities. We miss him and will always remember our rich summers of seeing planetariums and observatories in the U.S. I live in Florida now with some of the most beautiful skies and many rocket launches. I was able to show him launches many times. He loved them.

    • Randall Lunn May 10, 2019 / 5:40 pm

      Your Dad was my 7th grade teacher in Pepper Pike, Ohio in 1963. He inspired me to love math and science as well as astronomy. He introduced me to the stars with a class outing to the Hiram observatory. I have subscribed to Sky & Telescope magazine since then. I always think of him when I look at the stars with my telescope. He was a wonderful man and made all the difference in my life.

  2. frederick l king October 28, 2015 / 1:40 am

    I was one of his students at Warrensville. For a time during my 10th and 11th grades, I was his assistant, running the planetarium shows and even creating one of them myself as a class project. I was the only student he had one semester! After college I went to Tucson Arizona and became involved in broadcasting, but I always wondered what had happened to Mr. Andress. To think he was not that far from where I was! I knew he had moved to Arizona because of his parents, but had no more info beyond that. I am glad he had such a long and rewarding life. I am honored to have known his. Rest in peace Mr. Andress!

  3. Stephen B. Forbes January 5, 2016 / 2:51 pm

    Oh my! I just found out! I am deeply saddened by this news. Mr. Andress was one of my teachers at Orange Middle School in Orange, Ohio. He really was like a second father, too. (To me he was ALWAYS MR. Andress. I was raised that way and could never get used to calling him ‘Bob”. It just did not feel right and I respected him too much.)

    I was in grade seven at Brady Middle School (part of the Orange School System) when Mr. Andress really kicked my lifelong interest in astronomy into high gear. He was a teacher at that school and oversaw our after school activities groups. One of which was an astronomy group. I am certain that he guided my parents into providing me with my first real telescope as a Christmas present. It was an Edmund 4-1/4 inch f/10 Palomar Jr. “DeLuxe Space Conqueror”. I still have that scope and several more like it.

    When I was a Freshman at Orange High School he had me come out to Hiram College as an assistant teacher. He made me do a lot of the teaching! If the skies were clear after classes we would work on variable star estimates using that wonderful Brashear 9-1/2″ refractor. I believe it was in 1968 when our estimates of the minimum brightness of one star in the constellation of Triangulum were published in the IAU news. I still have the old news print out from the Teletype somewhere in my files.

    The last thing that I knew was that Mr. Andress was conducting guided tours at the MMT Observatory on Mt. Hopkins just south of Tuscon, AZ. I last spoke with him sometime after returning from Iraq in 2006 and then sometime in 2012, roughly. I tried to reach him just before Christmas 2015 and I was told that he was no longer doing tours. No one told me he had passed away. I just found that out now (05-JAN-2016) by doing deeper research. I had wanted to send a new student to visit him since she was going to be interviewing colleges in that area next month. Unfortunately, she will not have that privilege.

    I will always remember him with great fondness and for the love of the stars and Universe than he helped to firmly root within me.

    Rest in Peace, Sir!

    Stephen B. Forbes
    91A West Bow Street
    Franklin, NH 03235

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