Robert Conkwright

September 17, 2019


Robert D. Conkwright, age 94 of Towson passed away Tuesday, September 17, 2019. Born to a well-know Manhattan celebrity couple in 1925, Bob led a unique life.  His parents were Arthur Bliss Conkwright, a professional photographer, film and stage actor, and infamous society bootlegger, and Marie Dieda Conkwright, a famous New York fashion model. 

in June 1943, after graduating from Scarsdale High School he joined the Navy and entered the V-12 Program at Harvard and Bates College (in the same class as Jack Lemon and Bob Kennedy), and was commissioned at Cornell.  He served as a Lieutenant JG in the Navy.  During the World War II, Bob worked as an engineering officer on Landing Craft Infantry 704 and 766 vessels, travelling to Okinawa, Saipan, Tinian and Tiensen, China.  There, he transported supplies to the Marines and carried Japanese prisoners to Taku.  The crew was forced to leave Tiensen due to communist offensives in China.  After the war, he returned to San Francisco and was later decommissioned in Charleston.  Bob resigned his Navy commission (LTJG) in 1946.  He received various awards and medals for his service in the American and Asiatic-Pacific regions.  After attending Harvard and Cornell, Bob received a BS in math and physics from Bowdoin College in 1951. 

Bob and Mary Elizabeth Harper were married in Bronxville, NY, in 1948.  Over the next few years the couple had two children, Jan Ashley and Robert D. Jr.  The new family moved to Pleasantville, NY, where Bob worked at General Precision Laboratories.  In 1959 the Conkwright family moved to Hampton in Towson, MD, where Bob took a managerial position at Martin Marietta, and later transferred to Westinghouse Aerospace.  His worked to develop new technologies for military carriers and cruisers, and he was active in developing the revolutionary AWACS radar system.  Bob traveled around the globe, representing US aerospace manufacturers to foreign nations.  During this time, he was an avid inventor, developing several patents, from innovative document management equipment used by the Library of Congress, to electric appliances.  Upon retiring from the aerospace industry, he worked as a stock broker and later started a high-tech export/import company with his daughter in Baltimore, working primarily with Japanese. 

After the passing of his first wife, Bob was remarried to Eleanor LeBrun Carpenter, in 1998.  After residing for a time in Hampton, the Conkwrights moved to the Edenwald Community in Towson.  Bob was an active sailor, swimmer and tennis player, and long time member of L'Hirondelle Club.  He is survived by the former Eleanor LeBrun Carpenter, a son and daughter, two step children and 3 grandchildren and 3 great-grandchildren.  His first wife, Mary Elizabeth Harper Conkwright predeceased him.  A memorial service will be held at a future date at Edenwald Retirement Community.

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