Robert Paul Wichner, 85, passed away peacefully on Nov. 7, 2018 at his home in Oak Ridge, Tenn., after a series of medical problems.
Robert was born in Pecs, Hungary in 1933 to Blanche and Abe Wichner and immigrated to New York when he was four years old. He was raised on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, where he met the love of his life, Phyllis Heller, in the second grade. They married young and she supported him through graduate and doctoral years of study in chemical engineering, hydrodynamic fluids and nuclear reactor technology.
Robert worked at the Oak Ridge National Laboratories, technology division, his entire working career. He worked on turbulence, submarine technology, nuclear breeder reactors and more. He won awards and patents in space solar power and thermal energy analysis for the dynamic engine to power America's space station.
Robert and Phyllis raised their children, Robin and Joel, in Oak Ridge. They enjoyed long trips in the hills of Tennessee. Robert would run long distances in the noon-day sun during the week and ran half-marathons.
After retiring, he became a consultant and also served as expert technology witness on breeder reactors and nuclear energy safety for the government at legal hearings and trials.
Interment was at the Beth El cemetery at Oak Ridge Memorial Park. He is survived by his children, Robin Wichner and Rick Dupont, of Harahan, La.; his son, Joel Wichner of Albuquerque, N.M.; his sister, Sue Goldman of Newton, Mass.; and many nieces, nephews, grand-nieces, grand-nephews, a great-grand-nephew, as well as his friends and neighbors.