Robert Spellicy

In Memoriam


Robert Spellicy

In Memoriam

After receiving his Ph.D. in physics from the University of Michigan, Bob worked for 15 years for SAIC and OptiMetrics, Inc. at the DOD’s White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico where he performed research on the physics of the propagation of laser radiation through the atmosphere. In 1989 he began work with Radian Corporation in Austin, Texas, where he started the Optical Remote Sensing group. This group developed IR and UV systems for environmental monitoring and industrial process control.  This was to be the focus of his work for the next three decades.  In 1997, Bob left Radian to help found Unisearch Associates USA; and, in 1999 he co-founded Industrial Monitor and Control Corporation (IMACC) with his life-long friend Dr. Ralph Brewer, which was sold to IMACC, LLC in 2013.  Bob continued working there for the next four years, when he retired and in 2017 joined Spectrum Environmental Solutions.
Robert Spellicy, a well-known figure in the infrared applied spectroscopy community, unexpectedly passed away at age 75 on the night of November 17, 2019. At the time, he was living in Florida and was working part-time for Spectrum Environmental Solutions of Austin, Texas.  We honor our mentor, co-worker, pioneer of environmental spectroscopy, and our friend with these few words below.


“Bob was a fantastic friend.  He loved his Porsches, of which he owned too many to enumerate, and would park them in “safe places” miles away from any entrance. This did not deter me from seeking out Bob’s latest gem and purposefully parking my 45-year-old beater Ford pickup next to it!  Always willing to at least try something new, in one of his last acts, Bob (gasp!) traded in his Porsche for a brand new 458-hp Mercedes – only to return to the Porsche dealer less than 3-months later to correct his thoughtless error. The dealer merely said, “I knew you would be back.”

–Ralph Brewer


“I worked with Bob for over 15 years on projects, equipment design, and software development. When he got excited about an idea or a project, he started talking and moving so fast that I’d have to stop him and ask him to “dumbify” it for me. He always did. As a brilliant man, he could always turn it off and explain his ideas in a way I could understand. He loved his Porches and racing which just adds to the way he thought and worked.  No one could ever keep up at his speed.”

–Jake Crowder


“I recently received news that Bob had passed.  I counted him as a good friend and a solid scientist from my time with him at Radian. He will surely be missed, not only for his good science and creativity, but also for the honesty of his opinion. “Sorely missed” hardly expresses my sadness at our loss of someone so special.”

–Ray Merrill


“As a member of the environmental FTIR community, I knew Bob Spellicy for over 25 years and considered him one the giants of our field upon whose shoulders we all stand.  He was at once a colleague, mentor, resource, and friend.  I worked closely with Bob Spellicy and Ralph Brewer since 2001 when I began using IMACC FTIRs to measure low level formaldehyde from gas turbines as well as a multitude of other sources and pollutants.  Bob was an unfailing resource for me through the years, engaging and funny, and generous with his time and assistance. Above all, Bob showed a joy in science that was infectious.  As I told him in a letter celebrating his retirement, I will continue to share his wisdom on programming FTIR analyses – “There are two methods—the 1 Martini Method and the 2 Martini Method.” This humorous quote showed his joie de vivre as well as counseling patience as we conduct science.”

–Tom Dunder


“Many now working at Spectrum, and others who have moved on to new and exciting challenges, all consider Bob to have been the best example of innovation, creativity, and personal thoughtfulness.  We miss his wit and humor.  We miss his calm approach to complex problem-solving.  Daily, we strive to honor his contributions to this amazing and dynamic field of work.  And we shall never forget our dear friend, Robert “Bob” Spellicy.”

–Troy Boley