[singlepic id=1291 w=120 h=160 float=left] Bob’s passing has elicited many expressions of sadness and regret from his IEEE friends and colleagues, not only for his years of dedicated work on behalf of IEEE (The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers), but especially for the manner in which he carried out his volunteer duties.
When Bob first became active as an IEEE volunteer, about 50 years ago, the Institute was essentially an American organisation with only a small minority of members in other countries. He was perceptive enough to realise that the inevitable growth of membership outside the USA would present a complex and difficult challenge. He resolved to work with others, first in the UKRI Section with his good friend R C G Williams, and then in Western Europe, to bring together senior engineers to build a new infrastructure (now known as Region 8 of IEEE) capable of developing technical activities and services for ordinary IEEE members.
Bob’s deep understanding of cultural and political differences became invaluable as IEEE expanded beyond the Iron Curtain and into the Middle East and Africa. His efforts to encourage growth in Eastern Europe were particularly successful. His skill in resolving differences of view across national boundaries set a high standard for his successors to emulate. His meticulous record keeping underpinned the integrity of the new organisation, which he served as Secretary and Treasurer.
Bob maintained that the ‘rules’ should always be observed. Ironically, the set of rules that IEEE adopted many years ago for the conduct of meetings is known as ‘Robert’s Rules’, although in this case Robert was an American Military Officer.
Bob was widely appreciated for his wisdom and wit, for his kindness and thoughtfulness, especially towards new recruits, and for his basic humanity.
He will be greatly missed.
A Biography of Robert C (Bob) Winton can be seen at: http://www.ieee.org/web/aboutus/history_center/biography/winton.html
March 10th 2009