Robert G. Van Wingerden 1932-2021 | News, Sports, Jobs

JOHN’S CREEK, Georgia – Robert George Van Wingerden, 89, passed away on Wednesday November 17, 2021.

Born June 13, 1932 in Youngstown, the son of Reverend George and Emma Lou Van Wingerden, Bob’s early years and his schooling until grade 11, was in Cortland. He graduated from Girard high school in Girard. During the Korean War, he enlisted in the US Air Force and served as a control tower operator at Rhein-Main Air Base in Frankfurt, Germany. After his release he met the lovely Shirley Faye Lambert; they were married in April 1959. She remained his devoted and loving wife until her death, a period of over 62 years. They were fortunate to have a son, Robert Douglas in 1966, and a grandson, Cooper, in 2007.

Bob received a Bachelor of Science in Engineering from General Motors Institute (now Kettering University) in Flint, Michigan, a Master of Science in Engineering Administration from Case Institute of Technology (now Case-Western Reserve University) in Cleveland , and has the Stanford University Executive Program. His career spanned 33 years with the Packard Electric division of General Motors Corporation in Warren and included many diverse positions including Director of Industrial Engineering, Director of Materials Management, Director of Reliability and quality control, interim chief engineer and general sales manager. This latter position included responsibility for leading the initial effort of international growth through acquisitions and joint ventures. In 1997, he was inducted into the Packard Electric Hall of Fame, in recognition of his successful efforts in the globalization initiative.

Upon retirement, he affiliated with the International Executive Service Corps (IESC) and, under their sponsorship, carried out numerous extended consulting assignments with manufacturing companies in Russia, the Republic of Georgia and Thailand. On all of these assignments he was accompanied by his wife, Shirley, who served as an informal “goodwill ambassador,” who frequently visited schools and met teachers and students, many of whom had never met an American citizen.

From 1978 to 1982 he was a member and term chair of the Howland School Board in Warren. He has served as president of three church councils: First Christian Church of Girard, where his father was pastor; Howland Community Church in Warren; and The United Methodist Church in Swansboro, North Carolina During his later years, he was a member of The United Methodist Church in John’s Creek, Georgia.

An avid pilot, he owned several planes and enjoyed traveling around North America, with Shirley as co-pilot. In 1997, he was president of the Sportsman Pilot’s Association, the world’s oldest private flying club.

He was predeceased by his parents and his sister, Margaret Ann Patterson of Worthington.

He is survived by his beloved wife, Shirley; his son Douglas and his wife Nikki of Suwanee, Georgia; and grandson, Cooper.

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