The aerospace and technology community mourns the loss of one of its brightest stars, Roberta Gleiter, a distinguished member of the Women in Technology International (WITI). With a legacy spanning decades, Roberta's contributions to the field have left an indelible mark on aerospace innovation and the advancement of women in STEM. Her dedication, vision, and trailblazing spirit have inspired countless individuals and have paved the way for future generations to reach for the stars. Beyond her professional achievements, Roberta's love for nature added an extra layer of beauty and depth to her life, which she shared with friends through her morning walks and captivating photographs.
A Passion for Exploration
Roberta Gleiter's journey into the world of aerospace and technology was driven by an insatiable curiosity and a passion for exploration. From an early age, she displayed an innate curiosity about how things worked, often dismantling and reassembling gadgets just to understand their inner mechanisms. Her fervor for the unknown eventually led her to pursue a degree in aerospace engineering, a field that was still largely male-dominated at the time.
Roberta's entry into the aerospace industry was marked by the challenges she faced as a woman in a traditionally male sphere. Undeterred, she embarked on a mission to break down barriers and prove that gender should never define one's capabilities. Her determination and exceptional skills quickly gained recognition, earning her a place as a pivotal figure in some of the most groundbreaking aerospace projects of her era.
Innovations and Contributions
Throughout her career, Roberta Gleiter's name became synonymous with innovation. Her work spanned a wide range of projects, from satellite communications advancements to cutting-edge propulsion systems. She played a crucial role in the development of technologies that revolutionized space exploration, satellite navigation, and communication networks. Her commitment to pushing the boundaries of possibility earned her respect and admiration from colleagues across the globe.
Advocacy for Women in STEM
Roberta was not only a pioneer in aerospace technology but also a tireless advocate for women pursuing careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). Recognizing the gender disparities within these fields, she actively worked to create opportunities for young women to excel. She participated in mentorship programs, gave motivational talks, and tirelessly promoted the message that gender should never be a deterrent to pursuing one's dreams.
A Connection to Nature's Beauty
Beyond her professional achievements, Roberta Gleiter was also a nature lover who found solace and inspiration in the world around her. She shared this deep connection with her friends through captivating photographs captured during her morning walks. Her images reflected not only the natural beauty she cherished but also her ability to find tranquility amidst the hustle and bustle of her demanding career. These photos served as a reminder that even amidst technological progress, the wonders of the natural world remained a source of wonder and grounding.
Legacy and Inspiration
Roberta Gleiter's impact extends far beyond her professional achievements. Her legacy serves as a guiding light for aspiring engineers, scientists, and technologists, demonstrating that passion, perseverance, and a willingness to challenge the status quo can lead to extraordinary accomplishments. Her story continues to motivate individuals to overcome obstacles, pursue their passions, and make meaningful contributions to the world of aerospace and technology.
A Lasting Tribute
As the aerospace community mourns the loss of Roberta Gleiter, we also celebrate her remarkable life and contributions. Her memory will forever remain in the hearts of those she inspired and guided. Let us honor her legacy by continuing to strive for excellence, champion diversity in STEM fields, and push the boundaries of what is possible. And as we reflect on her shared moments of nature's beauty, may we find our own inspiration in the world around us, just as she did.
Roberta Gleiter's journey from a curious young mind to a trailblazer in aerospace and technology, as well as a lover of nature's beauty, is a testament to the power of dedication, innovation, and resilience. Her remarkable achievements have left an indelible mark on the industry, while her advocacy and appreciation for the natural world have touched the hearts of those around her. The aerospace world has lost a true luminary, but her legacy will continue to shine brightly, reminding us all that with passion, determination, and a connection to nature, there are no limits to what we can achieve.
Roberta Banaszak Gleiter's Obituary
On the evening of July 22, 2023, Roberta Banaszak Gleiter, 84, originally of Chicago, Illinois, passed away peacefully at home after battling cancer. Her final sunset was calm and pain-free.
Roberta married John Gleiter in 1960 after completing her Bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering from Purdue University, and subsequently resided in Kansas, Texas, and finally settling down in 1963 into the family home in Los Angeles, California.
Many of Roberta’s work, fraternal and professional society colleagues know about her various accomplishments and work in mentoring and supporting women in engineering. She was recognized for her leadership and financial support, animated through speaking engagements and endowing scholarships, respectively.
As President of the Society of Women Engineers and CEO of the Global Institute for Technology and Engineering, she fostered a charitable public presence in the world of engineering, especially for women starting their careers. She was an active contributor to The Aerospace Corporation, her employer of 40 years, Chi Omega women’s fraternity, Purdue University, and the University of Southern California where she obtained a Master’s degree.
Roberta had many avocations. As an athlete Roberta participated in judo, tennis, and until recently a 3 mile per day hike in Laurel Canyon. She was always hopeful to see a celebrity as her trail passed their homes in the hills. She had an eye for the camera, both in front and behind. She was once a contestant on the television game show Let’s Make a Deal, and took countless photographs as she travelled around the world.
Roberta is survived by her husband, three children and three grandchildren. In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to an organization meaningful to Roberta’s goal of supporting women in engineering or leadership roles
Opinions expressed by the author are not necessarily those of WITI.
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