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1929 Robert 2022

Robert Tull

May 1, 1929 — April 6, 2022

South Austin Location

Robert Gordon Tull passed away surrounded by his children on April 6, 2022 at his long-time home in Austin, Texas. He was born on May 1, 1929 in Jackson, Michigan to William Samuel and Delena Belle Nimmo Tull.

Bob grew up in Jackson, Michigan, and graduated from Wasatch Academy High School in Mount Pleasant, Utah, in 1947. He received his B.S. in Physics and Math, and his M.S. in Astronomy from the University of Illinois in Champaign, and his Ph.D. in Astronomy from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. In 1962 he was hired as one of the original professors in the new astronomy department at the University of Texas at Austin, and worked there as a Senior Research Scientist until his retirement in 2000. He built the Coudé Spectrograph for the 107” telescope at McDonald Observatory and continued developing research instrumentation throughout his career. His colleagues especially remember him for his mentoring of many other astronomers and the numerous ways his work enabled theirs.

In 1949 Bob married Gerry Everitt in Chicago. She passed away suddenly less than a year later. In 1952 he married Cathie Ruble of Decatur, Illinois, and they enjoyed nearly 61 years together until her death in 2013. When they moved to Austin they joined Wilshire Presbyterian Church, which later became Genesis Presbyterian Church. They sang in the choir and Bob participated in the church’s leadership for many years. He also belonged to the Austin Genealogical Society and, with Cathie, several square and round dancing organizations.

Bob became interested in astronomy when he saw the Draconid meteor shower at age 4, and started building telescopes in high school. During the Nixon years he was one of the first scientists to visit China, and he engaged in research all over the world. He loved teaching his children and grandchildren about science, electronics, and nature; camping with the Boy Scouts; hiking in Utah; building bookshelves, cabinets, and other furniture for family and for the church; reading broadly; and researching his and Cathie’s genealogies.

Bob is survived by his daughters Trisha Tull (and spouse Don Summerfield) of Henryville, Indiana, and Kendra Hiller (Duane) of Austin, and his sons Steve Tull (Susana) of Paige, Texas, and Alan Tull (Michelle) of Austin, and his sister Delena Norris-Tull (Roger) of Dillon, Montana; as well as four grandchildren, Ian Bravo, Claire Willey-Sthapit, Amber Leung, and Aubrey Tull; six step-grandchildren, five great-grandchildren, and four step great-grandchildren, as well as numerous cousins, nieces, and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his parents, his brothers William Tull and Jack Tull, his sisters Jean Tull Beemon and Marjorie Tull, as well as by his wife Cathie.

A memorial service will be held at Genesis Presbyterian Church in Austin on Sunday, April 10, at 2:00 pm. Masking is encouraged at the church.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorial donations be made to Genesis Presbyterian Church (1507 Wilshire Blvd., Unit 1, 78722) or to the charity of your choice.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Robert Tull, please visit our flower store.


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