Obituary: Robert E. Chiabrandy, 1932-2021 | Obituaries | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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Obituary: Robert E. Chiabrandy, 1932-2021 

Burlington engineer accumulated more than a dozen patents during 35 years with GE

Published September 7, 2021 at 6:15 a.m. | Updated September 7, 2021 at 5:52 p.m.

Robert Chiabrandy - COURTESY PHOTO
  • Courtesy Photo
  • Robert Chiabrandy

Robert E. Chiabrandy, 89, was born on February 6, 1932, in Winthrop, Mass., the son of Robert J. Chiabrandy and Frances E. Chiabrandy, and grew up in Saugus, Mass. He graduated from Saugus High School in 1949 and received his BS in mechanical engineering from Worcester Polytechnic Institute in 1953.

Upon graduation, he joined General Electric in Pittsfield, Mass., and entered GE's advanced engineering program, working at a variety of locations. Drafted in 1964, he spent two years in the U.S. Army, reaching the rank of SP3 before his release to the inactive reserve and receiving his honorable discharge in 1964.

In June 1956, he married his best friend and the love of his life, Constance Andreen, an English teacher from Allegan, Mich. For 39 years, as Bob said, “Connie kept my household organized, my life interesting and my grammar corrected.” She predeceased him in 1995.

Following his return to GE, in 1957 Bob transferred to Burlington, Vt., where he completed his 35-year career in engineering and management at the Armament Systems Department. While there, he was instrumental in the development of a variety of guns and ammunition feed systems, accumulating more than a dozen U.S. patents. He was well-known for practical and innovative solutions to engineering problems and was sometimes referred to as “the engineer's engineer.”

Bob was a registered professional engineer in both New York and Vermont, as well as a life member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, serving as chair of the Northern Vermont Group and, later, as chair of the Northern New England Section.

Bob liked to play cards and was considered a good player at cribbage, gin rummy and blackjack. He was also a Life Member of the American Contract Bridge League. After developing an interest in target shooting in his teens, Bob shot for four years on his college rifle team and, during his active Army duty, on the Fort Meade pistol team. A Patron Life Member of the National Rifle Association, he continued to enjoy informal target shooting throughout his life. A competent machinist, he took pleasure in designing and building a variety of items in his home machine shop.

While in college, he began playing popular music by ear on the piano, finding it a relaxing amusement. In later years, when visiting his sister at an assisted living home, he found himself in demand as an entertainer.

Over the last several years, Bob enjoyed spending weekends on the lake with his dear friend Sue Collinson. He was also an avid bridge player and member of the Burlington Bridge Club.

Bob is survived by his two nieces, Frances J. Neville and her partner Carl A. Page of Newburyport, Mass.; and Mary C. Neville of Scituate, Mass.

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