Robert D. Conkwright served in the Navy in the Pacific theater during World War II.
Robert D. Conkwright served in the Navy in the Pacific theater during World War II. (HANDOUT)

Robert D. Conkwright, a retired Westinghouse Electric Corp. executive and World War II veteran, died Sept. 17 from heart failure at the Gilchrist Center in Towson. The resident of Towson’s Hampton neighborhood was 94.

Robert Douglas Conkwright, the son of Arthur Bliss Conkwright, a professional photographer, film and stage actor, and “infamous society bootlegger,” according to a family profile, and his wife, Marie Dieda Conkwright, a New York fashion model, was born in New York City and raised in Scarsdale, New York.


After graduating in 1943 from Suffield Academy in Suffield, Connecticut, he enlisted in the Navy and joined the V-12 Program at Harvard University and Bates College, where Jack Lemmon and Robert F. Kennedy were classmates.

He was commissioned a lieutenant junior grade at Cornell University and was assigned as an engineering officer aboard landing crafts and cargo vessels in the Pacific theater. He was discharged in 1946.

After attending Harvard and Cornell, Mr. Conkwright earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and physics in 1951 from Bowdoin College. He moved to Pleasantville, New York, and went to work for General Precision Laboratories.

In 1959, he moved to Hampton and took a managerial position with Martin Marietta and later transferred to Westinghouse Electric Corp., the Linthicum-based aerospace, defense and electronic systems business.

Mr. Conkwright developed “new technologies for military carriers and cruisers, and was active in developing the revolutionary AWACS radar system," according to the biographical profile.

His work took him around the world representing U.S. aerospace manufacturers. And while he was at Westinghouse, which later became Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems, he developed several patents, including innovative document management equipment that was used by the Library of Congress and electric appliances.

After retiring in 1991, he worked as a stockbroker and established a high-tech export/import company with his daughter in Baltimore, working primarily with the Japanese.

In 2009, Mr. Conkwright, who enjoyed sailing, swimming and tennis, and was a member of the L’Hirondelle Club, moved to the Edenwald retirement community in Towson.

In 1948, he was married to the former Mary Elizabeth Harper, who died in 1993.

Plans for a memorial service at Edenwald are incomplete.

He is survived by his wife of 21 years, the former Eleanor LeBrun Carpenter; a son, Robert D. Conkwright Jr. of Hampton; a daughter, Jan Ashley Hudson of Hampton; a stepson, Todd Carpenter of Frederick; a stepdaughter, Courtney Bruno of Hampton; three grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.