Originally created 09/18/02

Featured obituary: Mr. Robert Maher



A funeral will be held today for a North Augusta man whose longtime work at Savannah River Site won the admiration and respect of his colleagues.

Services for Robert Maher, 70, who died Saturday, will be at 1 p.m. at Grace United Methodist Church in North Augusta, with burial in Pineview Memorial Gardens.

"There are few people in the U.S. who understood the American nuclear complex as well as Bob Maher," said Bob Pedde, the president of Westinghouse Savannah River Co. "He was an excellent strategic thinker, and for over 48 years his contributions to the safe, secure operation of the Savannah River Site were a valuable service to the nation and the state of South Carolina."

A native of Brooklyn, N.Y., Mr. Maher spent more than 48 years working with nuclear energy programs at SRS and Savannah River Plant, as it was known under DuPont management. That included 41 years in management of production, technical and project organizations.

He was the last senior DuPont manager still in a leadership position at the site, co-workers said. He transferred to Westinghouse when it was awarded the site-management contract in 1989.

"He was a mentor, a friend and a positive influence for literally hundreds, if not thousands, of people," Mr. Pedde said. "He loved his work, and he was totally dedicated to the future of the site and the area. We will not be able to replace him."

His SRS service was honored last month when he was awarded the Silver Crescent Award by Gov. Jim Hodges, one of the highest civilian awards presented by the state of South Carolina.

As vice president and general manager of strategic planning and mission development, Mr. Maher led Westinghouse's effort to retain and expand current missions and compete for new ones, officials said.

He had assisted with strategic planning and mission development since February 1995 and had worked on it full time since September 1995.

Before that, Mr. Maher served as vice president and general manager of the Nuclear Materials Processing Division and, later, the Defense Programs Division. From 1984 to 1989, under DuPont, he was manager of operations at Savannah River Plant.