Robert (Bob) Eastburn

Date of Birth

May 17th, 1947

Date of Death

December 8th, 2017

Memorial Meeting

Flagstaff Friends Meeting


Bob Eastburn was born in Wilmington, Delaware May 17, 1946. His mother was a Quaker and although she didn't attend Meeting often, Bob acquired a sense of what it meant to be a Quaker that would guide him throughout his life.  Bob married Elise Foy in 1968.  They would have celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary at the end of January.

Through their life together they attended several Quaker Meetings. The first was Appoquinimink (DE) Monthly Meeting which was under the care of the Wilmington (DE) Meeting. It was quite small, consisting of two couples, including Bob and Elise. They also attended Fort Meyers (FL), Third Haven (MD), Santa Fe (NM) and others, finally landing in Flagstaff in 2002. Shortly after coming to Flagstaff they transferred their membership from the Wilmington Meeting to Flagstaff Meeting. It was here that they really started to learn in more depth about Quakerism.  Although Bob didn't have much training as a Quaker he had lived as one through his life. He valued the community here and regretted that his Parkinson's disease kept him from participating more fully in the life of the Meeting.

Bob graduated from the University of Delaware with an undergraduate degree in geology.  He then graduated from a Delaware community college with a degree in industrial engineering. Bob and Elise then moved to Illinois so that he could pursue his master’s degree in agronomy.  This pursuit was interrupted when his stipend was terminated due to his professor’s move to Israel. 

While they were in Illinois, Elise worked as a nurse's aide. One of the nurses she worked with told Bob that Elise really should be a nurse. When she tried to enroll in nursing school she was told that as a married woman she would be a corrupting influence on the pure young women learning to be nurses, so she was not allowed to enroll. Bob decided that she should be a nurse so they left their life in Illinois and returned to Delaware where Elise became a nurse. Bob got quite a bit of criticism for giving up his career so his wife could also have a career. To him it just made sense because they were equal.

On their return to Delaware, Bob went to work at the University of Delaware in agriculture and agronomy.  While working he decided to continue his pursuit of a master’s in Agronomy which he was able to attain.  During his work he used his industrial engineering skills to make one of a kind equipment that was need for experimental research.  After discovering that the work he was doing might be weaponized by the CIA, he resigned.

Bob had an abiding love of tools and how to use them to make things that people needed and to repair things instead of throwing them away.  For example, a veterinarian friend who was prohibited from posting a sign identifying her business. Bob's solution was to make metal silhouettes of a horse, a cat, a dog, and a parrot that he installed on her lawn.

Bob and Elise didn't have any children of their own, but they were given the opportunity to help a good friend whose daughter sees the world through an ADHD perspective. Her hyperactivity was a strain on her parents so Bob and Elise took her in and helped her learn to deal with the world. She resided with the Eastburns three different times while she was growing up. These shared times brought them so close that both Bob and Elise came to see her as their daughter.

Due to his Parkinson’s, Bob’s loud and boisterous way of speaking was interpreted by some as anger; however he was a kind, gentle, humorous and loving man.  Bob Eastburn passed away in Elise's arms at the Winslow Campus of Care on Friday December 8th, 2017.