Robert McKenzie Rauner passed away peacefully at 98 on January 18, 2024 surrounded by family in Walden, New York on January 18, 2024 with no trace of illness left in his body. A beloved member of Helen and Maurice “Tom” Rauner’s Greatest Generation family (Margaret and Madelyn are his older siblings), his life was marked by quiet demeanor, humor, open-mindedness, practicality, as well as unwavering commitments to family, faith and country.
Early Years and Service
Bob began his academic journey at Syracuse University before responding to duty by joining the U.S. Marine Corps in 1943 as a radar technician in South Pacific Theater until 1946 – serving his nation with honor both during military service as a radar technician as well as postwar as an Air Force Reservist postwar. Postwar, Bob took advantage of the G.I. Bill to further his education at Middlebury College before receiving a scholarship for postgraduate study at London School of Economics and Political Science where he not only earned his PhD but met Brenda; starting their lifelong relationship together!
Love, Family and Career
Bob and Brenda’s marriage in 1951 in Loughton, England marked the start of an extraordinary partnership that enabled them to navigate the complexities of an ever-evolving world and gave rise to four children: Peter, Catherine, Margaret and Thomas. Together their shared interests of politics, WWII history, tennis, skiing and Nationals baseball provided them with an atmosphere filled with love and intellectual stimulation at home.
Bob enjoyed a distinguished and varied professional life. From teaching economics at Trinity College, to performing significant work at RAND Corp. and serving key roles for the U.S. government – culminating in his appointment as Director of Economic Adjustment by the Department of Defense as an epitome of dedication and service – his contributions were immense.
Legacy and Impact
Retirement did not diminish Bob; rather it provided him with an outlet to express his talents and passions. Volunteering, inventing, writing, repairing and more were among his daily pursuits; as an active lifelong Democrat serving as an election judge as well as engaging in thoughtful debate on current events often stimulated by reading The Washington Post and watching CNN provided new avenues of expression for him.
Bob and Brenda lived in Bethesda for nearly four decades and actively contributed to St. Jane Frances de Chantal Parish – evidence of their dedication and faith – before moving on to Silver Spring where they remained at the heart of their extended family including nine grandchildren and six great-grandchildren who benefitted from Bob’s wisdom, humor and love.
Robert McKenzie Rauner led a life of purpose, service, and love. His legacy extends far beyond professional achievements or military service; rather it lies in the immeasurable impact he made on family, friends, and all who knew him. Bob’s story serves as an exemplar of values we hold dear: commitment to principle, family devotion, quiet persistence in seeking excellence… His journey marked by integrity resilience compassion left a deep impression with those fortunate enough to know him, so when we commemorate him today it’s not simply because of what life he lived but rather all those lives enriched along the way! We remember Bob in recognition of all that he accomplished while remembering all he left behind him along the way!