Robert Patsko, 86, chemical engineer

Robert J. Patsko
Robert J. Patsko
Posted: June 03, 2014

Robert J. Patsko, 86, formerly of Bryn Mawr, a chemical engineer, died Tuesday, May 27, of multiple myeloma at Kendal Crosslands in Kennett Square.

Throughout his career, Mr. Patsko worked on chemical applications for the printing industry. Several were patented in the 1960s and 1970s.

His work in photo engraving research, development, and technical sales took him to major newspaper customers worldwide.

He was based at Master Etching Machine Co. in Ambler for two decades before moving to Park Forest, Ill.; Plymouth, Mass.; and Prairie Village, Kan. He returned to the Philadelphia suburbs and retired in 2000, his family said.

Born in North Braddock, Pa., and raised in Lester, he graduated from Ridley Park High School, served in the Army from 1945 to 1947, and then graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 1950 with a bachelor of science degree in chemical engineering.

His love of music and talent as a pianist drew him to the Mask and Wig Club at Penn, where he performed in musical political satires. He is mentioned in the program guide for the 1949 spoof Adamant Eve.

While at Penn, he met Rose Mary Kraft, who was studying to become an elementary schoolteacher. The two married in 1950. She died in 1999.

Mr. Patsko adopted square-foot gardening - the practice of tilling small, densely planted spaces. For the last 14 years, he cultivated a vegetable garden at his home in Kendal Crosslands.

"He raised tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, onions," said son Robert J. Jr. "The residents shared them."

Mr. Patsko read widely in philosophy, theology, biography, and fiction.

"If Bob didn't have an answer, he would seek one out," his family said in a statement. He was especially fascinated by the philosopher and theologian Paul Tillich and his book The Courage to Be.

Mr. Patsko was a "positive person who lived by the Golden Rule" and led by example, his family said.

In addition to his son, Mr. Patsko is survived by sons William K. and Daniel L.; daughters Carol S. Fitzgerald and Diane P. Connelly; seven grandchildren; eight great-grandchildren; a sister; and a brother.

Services were Saturday, May 31.

Donations may be made to the American Cancer Society, 1626 Locust St., Philadelphia 19103.


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