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Obituary Stories

Engineer's interests spanned from sea to stars

Jamie Martines
| Monday, May 14, 2018, 11:00 p.m.

With an eye to the sky and an ear to the ocean, Robert Bakin was an avid watcher of the Earth's frontiers — the places where no one has gone before.

“He just loved space,” Sandra Bakin said of her husband, a hobbyist astronomer who took notice of the discovery of every new star and planet and enjoyed keeping precise daily records of the weather.

As a child, he would take a streetcar into Pittsburgh to visit the planetarium.

“It was his favorite spot to go,” she said.

Robert N. Bakin, of Murrysville, died Sunday, May 13, 2018, at 79.

Mr. Bakin was the son of Nicholas and Stephanie Bakin of Braddock, and graduated from Braddock High School. He attended the University of Pittsburgh on a Westinghouse Scholarship, and he received a bachelor of science degree in electrical engineering.

He went on to work for Westinghouse Electric Corp. at Bettis Atomic Power Labs and Plant Apparatus Division. Mr. Bakin also worked for Bechtel Marine Propulsion Corp. for 50 years.

“He was up at the crack of dawn, and he was never late for work,” his wife of 54 years said.

Mr. Bakin assisted with the first refueling of the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Enterprise, meeting and working with the “Father of the Nuclear Navy” Adm. Hyman G. Rickover, who was known for developing nuclear-powered propulsion.

In addition to his long career, Mr. Bakin was the president of the Murrysville Swim Club and Franklin Area Swim Team. Although not a swimmer himself, he enjoyed serving as the photographer and columnist for both groups and cheering on his three children, Sandra Bakin said.

A fan of Star Trek, Mr. Bakin also enjoyed exploring the galaxy with the crew members of the starship Enterprise. His daughter, Leigh Ann Beller, recalled joining him for a Star Trek convention in Pittsburgh in the '70s, where the pair bought Vulcan crystals, a trivia book and bumped into actor Leonard Nemoy, who played Spock in the series.

Mr. Bakin is survived by his wife, Sandy; his children, Leigh Ann (Michael) Beller, Dr. Robert E. (Sandra Park) Bakin and Amy L. (Michael) Kosmal; his sister, Carolyn Bakin; and several grandchildren.

Family and friends will be received from 2 to 4 and 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday in Hart Funeral Home Inc., Murrysville. Additional visitation will be from 9 to 9:45 a.m. Wednesday in Mother of Sorrows Church, Murrysville, with a funeral Mass at 10 a.m. Interment will follow in Twin Valley Memorial Park, Delmont.

Memorial contributions may be made in Mr. Bakin's name to UPMC, Starzl Transplantation Institute, Montefiore Hospital, 3459 Fifth Ave., Pittsburgh, PA 15213; Mario Lemiux Hematology/Oncology Foundation, 6115 Centre Ave., Fourth Floor, Pittsburgh, PA 15232; or ALS Association of Western Pennsylvania Chapter, 416 Lincoln Ave., Millvale, PA 15209.

Jamie Martines is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at, 724-850-2867 or on Twitter @Jamie_Martines.

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