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.”