Robert Modler, a long-time resident of Palo Alto, died peacefully at home on May 7.

He was born in Oak Park Illinois on January 24, 1940, the second son of John Modler and Helene Witek, and grew up in Chicago. He graduated from Taft High School and studied at Northwestern University where he received his Bachelor of Science degree, and the University of Minnesota, where he was awarded a Ph.D. in organic chemistry in 1965.

He spent one year in Sweden as a postdoctoral fellow, where he met his wife Siv. After returning to the U.S., he spent a year as a postdoctoral fellow at University of Illinois Chicago Circle, and then a year teaching as Visiting Assistant Professor at Lewis & Clark College. While at Lewis & Clark, Robert developed a deep love for the Pacific Northwest - Central Oregon in particular - that would endure until the end of his life.

He often visited Black Butte Ranch where he owned a share of a home.

From 1968, he worked in the chemical industry in Minnesota and Illinois. In 1978, he accepted a position as research chemist at SRI International in Menlo Park, where he spent the next 26 years. After the initial period as a laboratory researcher, he transferred to economic analysis in the Specialties Chemicals Department. In this position, he conducted a number of studies on the economic significance of various commercial chemical products, specializing in soaps, detergents, and other surface-active agents. In addition to establishing himself as an industry-recognized expert in the specialty chemicals area, Bob was admired by his coworkers for his easygoing, unflappable mannerism.

Family and friends mourn him. A private service was held at Alta Mesa Memorial Park in Palo Alto.

His wife, Siv; son, Michael; grandson, Harvey; and brother, John Modler, with family, survive him.