Robert Makofski, obituary

Posted:  Friday, December 28, 2012 - 3:15pm

CAMDEN — Robert A. Makofski died Dec. 25, 2012, at Pen Bay Medical Center of cancer, two days short of his 82nd birthday. He is survived by his wife, Cathy Lickteig Makofski of Camden; his son, Richard and daughter-in-law, Lisa, of Waldler, Texas; his son, David of Elkridge, Md.; his daughter, Kathleen and son-in-law, Stephen Moxley, of Ellicott City, Md.; his sister, Barbara Soper of Wopwallopen, Pa.; and his nieces, Karen Chapin of Nescopeck, Pa., and Lisa Azary of Fayettville, Pa. Bob is also survived by his loving step children, Anna and Alex; and his granddaughters, Lola, Esme, Lucy and Vivian.

Bob was predeceased by his son, Stephen; his grandson, Travis; and his parents, Anthony and Sophia Makofski.

Bob and Cathy lived in Columbia, Md., until 2004 when they moved to Camden.

Bob had a 55-year technical and management career with The Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory, a nonprofit center for engineering, research and development. APL, a part of The Johns Hopkins University, employs more than 5,000, 70 percent of whom are scientists and engineers. It was created in 1942 to develop critical World War II technology. Today, APL's mission is to solve complex research, engineering and analytical problems that present critical challenges to the United States.

In 1968 Bob was named the assistant director for laboratory operations, with responsibility for administration, personnel, facilities and technical services — a position he held until 1994 when he became assistant director for development, as well as supervisor for the external relations (public affairs) office. Bob was a member of APL's Principal Professional Staff — the Lab's most prestigious professional level. He retired from the Laboratory in 1997.

Bob joined APL in 1957 as an engineer in the research center, where he analyzed fluid flow at hypersonic speeds and designed concepts for hypersonic wind tunnels. He later joined the aeronautics department, where he designed a hypersonic gun tunnel and investigated shock waves. In 1969 he was named manager of APL's Urban Transportation Program, and in 1974, he was appointed supervisor of the transportation technology group. As an outgrowth of that work, Bob was associated with The Johns Hopkins Center for Metropolitan Planning from 1974 to 1980.

In 1980-1981, Bob was a Parsons Visiting Professor in The Johns Hopkins University Department of Geography and Environmental Engineering. He served on numerous transportation committees for the Congressional Office of Technology Assessment and the National Academy of Science Transportation Research Board.

Bob was department head of the newly created technical services department from 1982 to 1986. He was the assistant director for laboratory operations from 1986 to 1994, responsible for administration, personnel, facilities and technical services.

From 1994 until his retirement in 1997, he was the assistant director for development.

Bob received his Bachelor of Science in aeronautical engineering from Penn State University, a Master of Science in aeronautical engineering from the University of Virginia, with additional studies at the California Institute of Technology.

There will be a private gathering of Bob's friends in Maine, and a remembrance of Bob's life and career at The Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Md., on Sunday, Jan. 27, at 1:30 p.m. (Snow date Feb. 3.)

The family suggests memorial donations be made to the National Parkinson's Foundation ( in Bob's memory. He did not have Parkinson's, but many of his close friends do.

Condolences may be shared with the Makofski family by visiting their book of memories at

Arrangements are with the Long Funeral Home & Cremation Service in Camden.