Robert John Conner was born on January 28, 1940 to Johnnie W. Conner and Mary Elizabeth (Denton) Conner in Kings Mountain, NC and passed away on October 15, 2017.
Bob graduated from New Hanover High School in Wilmington, NC in 1958, and from Wilmington Jr. College (now UNCW) in 1960 with an associate of arts degree. He continued his education at NC State University, where he earned BS degrees in forestry and soil science in 1963 and an MS degree in soil science in 1966. In 1969, he received a PhD in forestry from Michigan State University. In addition to serving his country in the US Coast Guard, Bob enjoyed a long and distinguished career in his profession. He was first employed as a forester in the Timberland Division of Container Corporation of America in Florida. Upon earning his doctorate, he joined the Agriculture Division of Geigy Chemical Company, where he was employed for 28 years in research, marketing, technical service, and licensing positions. He retired in May 1997, the company then known as Syngenta Crop Protection of Greensboro. Bob loved the sport of baseball and excelled from an early age, going from Pony League to professional. He won his high school conference's Outstanding Player Award and was a first team All-State selection in his senior year. In recognition of his pitching excellence, Bob received baseball scholarships from Wilmington College (UNCW) and NC State. He was an outstanding pitcher for the Seahawks in 1959-60, advancing to the Junior College finals. As a senior at NC State, he was first team All - ACC and Co-Captain of the Wolfpack. After college, he pitched in the Washington Senator organization for one season before returning to graduate school at NC State.
Bob was actively involved in numerous educational, professional and civic organizations throughout his life, including Alpha Zeta, Xi Sigma Pi, Sigma Xi, American Society of Agronomy, Weed Science Society of America, Society of American Foresters, and the Greensboro Civitan Club. He served as president of the Southwest Guilford High School PTA and was named an Honorary Lifetime member of the NC PTA. He was recognized in the 1970 edition of "Outstanding Young Men of America." A faithful member of Jamestown United Methodist Church, he also served on the Administrative Board there. Bob was preceded in death by his mother, Mary Elizabeth (Denton) Conner; his father, Johnnie W. Conner; and sister, Patricia (Conner) Bland, all of Wilmington, NC. He is survived by his devoted wife, Elaine, of 48 years; daughter Bethany and her husband Edward Perkins; his beloved grandchildren, Tull and Conner; two brothers, Grady Conner and his wife Nancy, and Danny Conner and his wife Martha; a sister Linda Tartt and her husband Randy; and four nephews, Brian Bland, Lee Conner, Shane Tartt, and Eric Bland.