Robert McCutchen Aiken passed peacefully in his West Chester, PA home on Monday, November 12, 2018 at the age of 88.
Born in Washington, PA in 1930 to Helen McCutchen Aiken and Robert Wilson Aiken, Bob grew up in a multigenerational family with strong roots to western Pennsylvania. He was a high school athlete and turned down an opportunity to play with the Phillies farm team and attended Case Institute of Technology in Cleveland, OH (now Case Western Reserve) - a decision he never regretted. He graduated from Case in 1952 with a degree in mechanical engineering, and was hired by E. I. duPont de Nemours and Co. In 1955 Bob attended Officer’s Candidate School, Newport, Rhode Island, and became an Ensign in the United States Navy. Eventually in 1957 as a Lieut. Jg, (junior grade) he was stationed in Naples, Italy. It was there that he met a Naval Captain’s daughter, Brenda Jean Ashton. It was love at first sight for both and they were married four and a half months later.
Bob spent a long and stellar career at DuPont retiring after 38 years as a Group Vice-President in the petrochemicals department. Those with whom he worked loved him. He was instrumental in the early 1980’s in developing flexible work schedules and remote work place opportunities for new mothers who worked at DuPont. Bob was a member of the Wilmington Club.
Having a deep love for his alma mater, Bob served on many different leadership boards at Case Western Reserve. In 2008, Bob and Brenda established the Aiken Scholarship Program paving the way for numerous undergraduate and graduate students to be supported in pursuit of a degree in Biomedical Engineering. Furthering their commitment to Case, Bob and Brenda established the Aiken Strategic Initiative in Biomedical Engineering in 2017. The Aiken Strategic Initiative at Case Western Reserve University includes many areas of focus including; the Brenda A. and Robert M. Aiken professorship, support for translational research in biomedical engineering to solve the world’s most pressing health problems and educating the best and brightest minds for generations to come.
Bob adored Brenda, his wife of 61 years, and in retirement they traveled the world, spent quality time with their four granddaughters, entertained friends, and tended to their West Chester home, “Linden Farm” which they loved.
Bob is survived by Brenda; their daughter, Jennifer Aiken Fulton (Howard); their son, Robert Ashton Aiken; and their four granddaughters: Elaine Williams (Evan), Margaret Fulton, Sarah Fulton, and Emily Aiken. Bob was preceded in death by his sister Helen Jean Aiken Gerber.
A funeral service will be held at 2pm, Sunday, November 18 at the McCrery & Harra Funeral Home, 3924 Concord Pike followed by interment at Birmingham-Lafayette Cemetery, West Chester, PA. In lieu of flowers, and with deep gratitude to Robert M. Aiken ’52, the family encourages memorial gifts be sent to the Aiken Strategic Initiative at Case Western Reserve c/o Case Western Reserve University, 10900 Euclid Ave., Cleveland, Ohio 44106-7035,