College of Engineering News • Iowa State University

In Memory: ECpE Distinguished Professor Emeritus Robert Grover Brown

The following information is from the obituary for Robert Grover Brown.

Robert Grover Brown (“Grover”) passed away peacefully on Aug. 10, 2020, at 94 years old. Brown was born on April 25, 1926, in Shenandoah, Iowa, to Grover Whitney and Irene (Frink) Brown. He graduated from Shenandoah High School in 1944 and immediately enlisted in the United States Navy. He served honorably until his discharge in 1946.

Brown then enrolled at Iowa State University (then known as the Iowa State College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts) in the electrical engineering program, now known as the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. He earned his B.S., M.S. and Ph.D. degrees at Iowa State. After working in industry for two years at North American Aviation in California, he established a life-long career at Iowa State as a professor of electrical engineering and remained there until his retirement in 1989.

He received the honor of the Anson Marston Distinguished Professorship in Engineering in 1976, and at his retirement, he was given the title of Distinguished Professor Emeritus, which he held until his death.

Brown belonged to and received a number of awards from the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and the Institute of Navigation (ION) professional organizations and was highly respected in his field. In addition to numerous technical papers, he was the author or coauthor of several well-regarded university textbooks, one of which has been in continuous use (in revised editions) for at least 35 years. He also helped many engineers learn the basics of positioning with GPS satellites through his work with NavTech Seminars. His many graduate students as well as his fellow faculty members held him in high regard, both professionally and personally.

On May 23, 1953, Brown married Lova McLaughlin of Minburn, Iowa, at the Little Country Church of Hollywood in California. They soon returned to Ames, and Brown began his career at Iowa State. They had two daughters, Janet (Neumann) and Lori (Richardson), and remained married until Lova’s death in 2006.

In 2012, Brown married Joanne Shaw Andersen, a fellow Shenandoah High School classmate. They resided at The Village – a Wesley Life Community in Indianola. Joanne passed away April 25, 2020, and Brown followed shortly thereafter.

Brown had many interests. He earned his private pilot’s license and loved to fly a small plane that he shared with a group of friends. He loved to travel and took his family to many interesting places through the years. He loved boating, fishing and especially sailing.

Upon his retirement, he and Lova moved permanently to their vacation home in Clear Lake, Iowa, where he belonged to the Clear Lake Yacht Club and participated in weekend sailboat races for many years.

Brown was a kind and generous man, highly respected in his profession, and a loving husband and father. He will be missed by many, many people.

A celebration of life will be planned at a future date. Memorials may be directed in his memory to: Clear Lake Yacht Club Sailing School or The Wesley Life Meals on Wheels Fund. Choose Wesley Life Meals on Wheels Fund.