Robert E. Introne Jr., 79, of Londonderry, NH, died unexpectedly Monday, October 11, 2021, while travelling in Phoenix, AZ. He was born on April 27, 1942 in Weymouth, MA, son of the late E. Margaret “Peggy” (Laine) and Robert E. Introne Sr.
A SCCA member for over 40 years, Bob started flagging turns in the 1970’s. He quickly fell in love with SCCA motorsports and recruited many of his friends, establishing a corner working crew called The Road Runners. This team of flaggers became famous in the 70’s throughout the St. Louis region, slapping their stickers on cars that visited their stations. He eventually obtained his competition license in a SRF, then moved from the corners to race control as a steward. He signed off on hundreds of novice logbooks and was instrumental in the development of many more drivers.
Due to his years of service in the Air Force as a Chief Meteorologist for shuttle launches and DoD projects, Bob was always the region’s go-to Weatherman for what to expect during race weekends. But his impact on the region extended far beyond whether drivers would race on wet or dry tires. Leadership was at his core. And through the decades, he stepped up to guide the direction and promote the growth of the club at the region level, within the Northeast Division, and nationally. He served NER as the Regional Executive, was the Area 1 Director for NEDiv, and spent 2 years as the Chairman of the SCCA National Board of Directors. Earlier this year, he was honored with the Castle-Stone Steward Award, recognizing him as the Steward of the Year for the Northeast Division. In addition to mentoring up and coming drivers, new workers (both flaggers and stewards), he also contributed to long-term projects including new track development.
But his first love was always waving flags on a corner. And he donned his whites, even if just for a session or two, at more than 30 Runoffs.
His passion for motorsports was a family affair, and has passed down through the generations. His wife of 56 years, Carol, flagged at his side for decades. When Bob moved to the control tower, she did too, being a constant in the Timing & Scoring booth. His son, Steve, and his wife Melissa have also become integral NER/SCCA members. Steve followed in his father’s leadership footsteps and now serves on NER’s Board of Directors. He raced SRF3 for 20 years before transitioning to B-Spec in 2021. Having his dad see him win a podium position at the 2021 Runoffs at Indy just a week before he passed will be one of the family’s cherished memories. Bob’s grandchildren are also continuing his legacy. They are already working in the T&S tower and preparing to build their own car to continue the Introne family SCCA racing tradition.
Bob devoted his life to a career of service. He served 21 years in the U.S. Air Force, ultimately achieving the rank of Lt. Colonel. In 1968, he did a tour of duty in Vietnam stationed in Saigon and Pleiku in the Central Highlands. He came under frequent rocket attack and had several harrowing experiences helping the Montagnard against the Viet Cong. He was a senior meteorologist at Cape Canaveral from 1969-1973 during the heyday of the Space Race, supporting the launches of Apollo 11 through 17, as well as early planning for the Apollo-Soyuz mission. When Apollo 11 made its famous ascent to land a Man on the Moon, Bob was on the tarmac at Patrick AFB, supporting ARIA aircraft operations which enabled spacecraft voice and telemetry data to get back to Mission Control. Bob would go on to provide weather forecasting for over 100 Defense Department mission launches from the Cape.
Bob had various assignments across the country and Europe, where he was a key member of Air Weather Service and supported development and operations of sophisticated air and space systems including the F-117A stealth fighter and various weather and reconnaissance satellites for the Secretary of the Air Force Special Projects. He had a command role as a Weather Squadron Commander for a fighter wing at England AFB from 1979-1981; and survived a Baader Meinhof Gang terrorist car bombing of HQ USAFE at Ramstein, Germany in 1981 just after arriving in country. Bob was a highly decorated officer, who received both the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star Medal.
Upon his Air Force retirement in 1987, Bob transitioned to the private sector, taking a job at TASC. In this capacity, he continued to contribute to National Security, eventually retiring from there as a Division Director after 13 years of providing vital technical analysis and studies for the Intelligence Community and Department of Defense. At this point, he transitioned into politics, when he was elected to the New Hampshire State House of Representatives. Bob represented Londonderry from 2000-2016 and was considered an integral and influential member of the state’s Republican Party. With his education, experience and background, he was a natural choice for Chairman of the Science, Technology and Energy Committee.
Bob was a proud graduate of Penn State University, earning a Bachelor of Science in meteorology. He followed the Nittany Lions as a staunch supporter his entire life and regularly could be found on Saturdays cheering for the team. He also received his Master of Science in meteorology from Colorado State University. In all facets of life, Bob was truly “The Weatherman” and all looked to him for his views on the short- and long-range forecast.
Besides his love for meteorology and all Boston sports teams, his greatest personal passion in life was sports car racing. He spent over forty years volunteering within the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA). He was a driver, nationally licensed Corner Marshall, and Chief/Operating Steward. Once again, he rose through the ranks as a recognized leader. He served as the Regional Executive for the New England Region, Area Director, and was ultimately Chairman of the SCCA National Board of Directors from 2006-2008. Through his leadership, he helped facilitate the development of new tracks in the northeast. Bob was a constant presence at local track events and was a regular face for over thirty years at the annual National Championship Runoffs. Hundreds of drivers can credit their introduction and growth in competitive motorsports to his mentorship.
Additionally, his dedication to fellow veterans and his community included support and membership in the Military Officers of America, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Lions Club, American Legion, and the American Meteorological Society.
Bob is survived by his beloved wife of 56 years, Carol (Kuryloski) Introne of Londonderry, NH; two sons, Robert E. Introne and wife Wendy of Centreville, VA and Steven D. Introne and wife Melissa of Windham, NH; daughter, Christina Introne of Derry, NH; six grandchildren; and one brother, Douglas Introne of Orono, ME. He was preceded in death by his sister, Carol (Introne) English of Chatham, MA.
Funeral services will be held on Friday November 5, 2021 at 10:00am at the Orchard Christian Fellowship church, 136 Pillsbury Rd., Londonderry, NH. Friends are welcome to attend to pay their respects and offer condolences to the family. A private interment with Military Honors for the family only will follow at the NH State Veterans Cemetery in Boscawen, NH.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made in Bob’s name to the Disabled American Veterans (DAV) P.O. Box 14301, Cincinnati, OH 45250-0301. The Peabody Funeral Homes and Crematorium of Derry and Londonderry are handling the arrangements. To send a condolence or for more information, please visit, www.peabodyfuneralhome.com.
Photo Courtesy of the Introne Family