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Robert A. Rapp

Obituary for Robert A. Rapp

May 21, 1925 - June 25, 2017
Manchester, New Hampshire | Age 92


Robert A. Rapp, 92, of Manchester, NH died June 25, 2017 at Birch Hill Terrace in Manchester after suffering a recent stroke.

Bob was born in Johnstown, PA on May 21, 1925 to Charles and Veronica (Frick) Rapp. He grew up in Johnstown and graduated from the University of Pittsburg.

During World War II he served as a 2nd LT in the U.S. Marine Corps. He received a MS in Civil Engineering from the Missouri Institute of Science and Technology in Rolla, MO and stayed there on the faculty after graduation. He then had a tour with the US Department of the Interior in Albany, NY to survey the pollution GE was putting into the river from their nuclear plants.

Bob worked for the Navy Research Center at the David Taylor Model Basin in Bethesda, MD where he tested ship models. He developed a Navy patent for a process which generates bubbles around a hull which made it impossible for enemy sonar to hear the ship passing through the water. He then spent 20 years working for NASA Space Tracking and Data Acquisition in Washington, D.C. where he was responsible for building large parabolic antennas that were needed for safe manned space flights. There were no satellites for communication at that time. He received an Exceptional Performance Medal for his work on the Apollo Network and an Exceptional Service Medal for his work on Apollo 17.

He was a 3rd degree member of the Knights of Columbus and had been active with St. Mary's Church in Rockville, MD.

Bob was predeceased by his first wife, Janet (Melvin) Rapp in 1995 and by his second wife, Alice (Harrell) Rapp in 2015.

The family includes two children, Karen Wheeler and her husband, Dr. Leigh Wheeler, of Merrimack, NH and Waterbury, VT and David R. Rapp and his wife, Ina, of Maryland; five grandchildren, David Leigh Wheeler and his wife, Jennifer, Christopher Wheeler and his companion, Jenn, Alison Kennedy and her husband, Patrick, Brian Rapp and his sister, Jennifer; and seven great grandchildren.

A memorial service took place on Friday, July 14, 2017 at Birch Hill Terrace Dining Room, 200 Alliance Way, Manchester, NH followed by Happy Hour in the Tavern. Burial will be at St. Mary's Cemetery in Rockville, MD at the convenience of the family.

Memorial donations may be made to the U.S. Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation at

Lambert Funeral Home & Crematory, Manchester, NH assisted the family with arrangements.

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Lambert Funeral Home & Crematory

1799 Elm St
Manchester, NH 03104
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