07 Nov Obituary of Dr Robert Fyffe Smart (Bob)

12th October 1931 – 29th October 2019. 

Robert Smart (Bob) was born in Glasgow in 1931 and educated at Jordanhill College School in the city.  He went on to study Metallurgy at the Royal Technical College (now University of Strathclyde) and graduated with a BSc in Applied Chemistry from Glasgow University.  Following a couple of years in the RAF on National Service, Bob moved to London to start his career with the International Tin Research Institute.  Based on his work there, he was awarded a PhD entitled “The Powder Metallurgy of Titanium-Tin-Aluminium Alloys” from the University of London in 1960.

During many years engaged in materials research and development, Bob was also employed by Mond Nickel Ltd, Cummins Diesel Engine Co. Inc. in the USA, and Associated Engineering Ltd (AE) in Rugby, where he was Manager of Materials Development for 14 years.  Whilst at AE, Bob wrote two books in the Mills & Boon Monographs series: “Plasma Spraying” (which he co-authored with J.A. Catherall), published in 1972, followed by “Developments in Powder Metallurgy”, published in 1973.  He also edited the Welding’s Institute’s “Surfacing Journal” for many years.  Bob met his wife Maureen during his time at AE and they married in 1965, going on to have 3 daughters and a son.

In 1982 Bob joined the Light Metal Founders’ Association as Research Manager.  This was his introduction to the foundry industry, where he would spend the rest of his career.  In 1985 he was appointed Director of the British Investment Casting Trade Association (BICTA) and later also Secretary-General of the European Investment Casters’ Federation (EICF).  During his tenure at BICTA, Bob was co-author (with Dr Peter Beeley) of the “bible” of the industry, entitled “Investment Casting”, published in 1995 by the Institute of Materials.  As Director of BICTA and Secretary-General of the EICF, Bob organised many successful international conferences between 1988 and 2002, both in the UK and in the rest of Europe (the latter in cities as diverse as Munich, Lugano, Paris, Prague, Rome, Monte Carlo and Berlin).  He also spent many years editing and producing the BICTA Bulletin.  Bob retired as Director of BICTA in 1997, but retained his role as Secretary-General of the EICF until his retirement from that position in 2002.

Bob was a keen golfer throughout his life and once played in the Scottish Amateur Championship.  He was also involved for some years in amateur dramatics in aid of the local primary school, during which time he dressed up in his kilt and sang Scottish songs in the style of Harry Lauder!  During his retirement, Bob enjoyed several visits to Barcelona in Spain (where two of his four children now live), and he and Maureen celebrated their 50th Wedding Anniversary in Sitges, near Barcelona, in 2015.  In these later years, Bob continued following golf and many other sports on television, as well as reading biographies, listening to classical and Scottish music, and getting to know his grandchildren.  Bob passed away in Rugby on 29th October 2019, aged 88 years.  He leaves behind his wife Maureen, their 4 children and their 7 grandchildren.

Any donations to British Heart Foundation, c/o Walton & Taylor Ltd, 16 Railway Terrace, Rugby, CV21 3EW.  Tel. 01788 543008

Angela Mason
Angela Mason