Robert Arthur “Bob” Kenefick, Professor Emeritus physics, died peacefully January 13, 2016. His parents were Robert and Betty (Barden) Kenefick, Jr., of Syracuse NY. His grandparents were Robert and Edith (Cantwell) Kenefick of Syracuse NY and Chester and Maude (Getman) Barden of Utica NY.
Bob shared his life joys in music and science with everyone. He began violin study with his grandfather, retired conductor of the Utica Conservatory of Music. Then Bob studied physics with outstanding teachers at Detroit’s Cass Technical High School and at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He completed his PhD in Nuclear Physics at the Florida State University in 1962.
A man of integrity, Bob held research positions at the University of Colorado and the University of Michigan where he conducted experiments on atomic particles with Tandem Van de Graaff generators. In 1965 Bob accepted an academic appointment with Texas A&M University (TAMU). He assisted Professor and Director John A. McIntyre in construction oversight and safety approval by the Atomic Energy Commission of the TAMU’s Variable Energy Cyclotron. Bob’s research, funded by federal and foundation grants in high energy atomic collision processes, included fast neutrons, ion spectroscopy traps and ion sources. These grants fostered additional research with the Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the Los Alamos National Laboratory. His later research was occupied with acoustical comparisons between some of the oldest violins and modern violins.
Bob touched the lives of many students in over forty years of lectures on physics. He supported student tennis, amateur astronomy and cycling events. He actively supported civic organizations including KAMU public radio and television, Opera and Performing Arts Society (OPAS), Junction Five-O-Five, the B-CS Tennis Association and the Brazos Valley Symphony Orchestra (BVSO). Bob served as Assistant Concertmaster of BVSO for over 20 years and, in earlier years, played the violin with the Faculty Trio, with the B-CS Community Singers, Baroque Orchestra, B-CS Chamber Orchestra and local string quartets. Bob served as faculty sponsor for the TAMU Student Orchestra.
Robert A. Kenefick is survived by his wife and family: Kathleen, Kathryn, Robert, Margaret, son in law Scott Gibson, and brother Richard W. Kenefick of Alexandria VA. We will miss his wide intelligence, great kindness and dedication to family, science and music.
We are especially grateful to Hospice Brazos Valley for the compassionate care and respite services. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests that contributions be made to a favorite charity, the Brazos Valley Symphony Orchestra, or Hospice Brazos Valley.
His life will be honored during a memorial service at 11 a.m. Saturday, February 13, 2016, at the Unitarian Universalist Church, 305 Wellborn Rd in College Station.
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