Robert Stauffer, 1925-2012
A distinguished retired SME editor, Robert (Bob) Stauffer, passed away July 7, 2012, at age 87. Stauffer joined the Manufacturing Engineering staff in 1975, in the company of well-known colleagues Dan Dallas and Charlie Wick. He retired as executive editor in February 1990. Stauffer was also the founding editor of SME’s Robotics Today magazine (1979-86), which was at the forefront of the “widening niche (robots) are finding in many branches of industry.” His work spanned the manufacturing technologies: from the first article, “Now: A Glass-ceramic That’s Machinable” (ME, March 1976), into robotics—“Industrial Robots: What They’re Doing, Where They’re Going” (RT, Fall 1980) and “Gantry Robots Facilitate Handling in In-line Workcells” (RT, June 1986), to his last piece, “In-Process Gaging for Real-Time Quality Control” (ME, April 1990), along with editorials, video scripts and post-retirement contributions.
After piloting a B-17 in WWII at age 20 and then earning an industrial engineering degree from General Motors Institute, Stauffer’s career stops at GM engineering and research, Design News and the Gray & Kilgore agency gave him the industry perspective that continues to characterize Manufacturing Engineering’s content.
Along with his first-rate skills in translating thoughts to (yes, a) typewriter, Stauffer was also a genuine mentor with the highest personal and professional integrity. His 1990 farewell ME editorial was not referring to himself, but the statements are easily applicable: “Quality. It should be as American as the flag, mom, and apple pie. [We’re] not going to produce the results we’re after until we understand that consistent quality depends on the efforts of people who simply want to do things right. And that takes a certain mind set. ‘IQ’ is a measure of a person’s basic intelligence. Maybe we need another measure—‘QQ’ … A person with a high QQ does his/her job the very best way it can be done … This really gets us back to basics. I would vote for placing QQ alongside the three Rs in education. We might discover we can do some new things to raise the QQ of our young people and impact their subsequent efforts in a positive way.”