Born in Los Angeles, California on January 23, 1926, to Donald A. Runnels and Anna M. Runnels (Jobb), Robert D. Runnels passed away in Santa Barbara, California, on September 10, 2017. Bob was raised in the Leimert Park section of the City and graduated from Dorsey High School in 1944. After graduation, he went on active duty in the United States Army Air Forces. Although he wanted to fly, that opportunity was lost when Flight Schools closed after V. E. Day. Bob then attended B-29 gunnery school in Fort Meyers, Florida and was discharged in December of 1945. Bob studied mechanical engineering at U.S.C., transferring to Pepperdine University where he received a B.S. degree in business administration. He was a life-long fan of the University of Southern California sports.
After college, Bob was employed by Northrop Aircraft in Hawthorne for five years as a Weight Engineer and became a member of the Society of Weight Engineers. Later, when Lockheed created their Missile Systems Division, he joined them at Van Nuys in 1955, and then transferred to the company headquarters in Sunnyvale where he was a Design Specialist working on numerous satellite programs for both the USAF and NASA. During this time he married Helen 'Toni' White, an accomplished artist, his partner and best friend for 52 years.
Retiring from Lockheed after 34 years, they moved to Solvang in 1991, and lived at Rancho Santa Ynez Mobile Estates. They soon became docents at the Cachuma Lake Nature Center and Bob became a member of the Alisal Men's Golf Club for 13 years. He also enjoyed hiking, gardening, camping, travel, bridge, car and air races and attended services at the SYV Presbyterian Church. He was preceded in death by his wife in 2010.
Friends may remember the Friendship House, 880 Friendship Lane, Solvang, California 93463. Arrangements are being handled by Loper Funeral Chapel in Ballard.