Robert William Willmott Sr.

Thursday 3rd of November 1921 - Sunday 14th of April 2019

Robert William Willmott Sr.



Apr 18, 2019 (11:30 am - 1:30 pm)

Milward - Broadway

159 N. Broadway, Lexington, KY

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Funeral Ceremony

Apr 18, 2019 (1:30 pm )


159 N. Broadway, Lexington, KY

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Robert W. Willmott, born Nov. 3, 1921, son of the late John W. and Irene E. Willmott of Sandersville Road, Lexington, KY, died on Apr. 14, 2019.

Educated in Fayette County and Lexington City Schools.  Graduate of Kentucky Military Institute (1938) and the University of Kentucky (1942) with a BS degree in Physics.  Served his country as a Captain in the United States Army during WWII, seeing duty in both the European Theater and the Asia Pacific Theater.  Following his military duty, he returned to the University of Kentucky and earned his MS degree in Nuclear Physics in 1947.  Subsequent education included additional course work at the University of Kentucky and attendance at the Oak Ridge Institute in Oak Ridge, TN.

Between 1947 and 1949 Mr. Willmott worked as a physicist for the Lexington Signal Depot, Carneige Institute in Washington, D.C. and the Naval Research Laboratory.  In 1949 Mr. Willmott returned to Lexington and became active in several local businesses.  In 1951 he opened the Radioisotope Laboratory in the Good Samaritan Hospital where diagnostic and therapeutic uses of nuclear medicine were performed.  Mr. Willmott was a pioneer in the use of nuclear medicine in this area and he continued in this field until 1961 when he joined IBM as an applied research physicist.  Mr. Willmott retired from IBM in 1981 after having held several management positions in the IBM Engineering organization.  While with IBM, Mr. Willmott was appointed Chairman of the International Organization of Standardization Committee on Safety of Office Machines as well as Chairman of the United States of America Standards Institute Subcommittee X4-A8 on Safety and Electrical Characteristics of Office Machines. 

He also served as United States Chief Delegate to the Electrical Characteristics Body of the International Electrotechnical Commission in Stockholm and London.  He was also the United States observer in meetings of the Commission for approval of Electrical Equipment in Europe, in Budapest, Paris, Berlin and Oslo.  He was the author of numerous technical papers and the holder of several engineering patents during his tenure with IBM.

Mr. Willmott was a fourth generation member and past Chairman of the Board of the First United Methodist Church.  He was a member of the Kentucky Research Foundation, a life member of the Downtown Lexington Optimist Club, life member of the UK Alumni Club, a UK Fellow, a 60 year mason and member of Olieka Temple and an initial member of Idle Hour Country Club.

Mr. Willmott was preceded in death by his wife of 75 years, Pauline “Polly” Bailer Willmott.  Mr. Wilmott is survived by son, Robert W. Willmott, Jr., Lexington, KY; son, John Thomas (Teresa) Willmott, Richmond, KY; and son, Webb  Bailer (Pamela) Willmott, Jackson, MI; four grandsons and three granddaughters; six great-granddaughters and three great-grandsons; and devoted friend, Ida Byrd. 

Visitation will be Thurs., Apr. 18, 2019, 11:30 AM followed by the funeral at 1:30 PM, Milward-Broadway.  Burial will be at the Lexington Cemetery.  Memorial contributions may be made to the charity of one’s choice.  



Guest Book

Jake Graves IV


The Jake Graves family extends thoughts and prayers to Bobbie, John Tom, and Webb. Your Dad was the last of the Fishing Crowd. Many fond memories of the entire group. Maybe our generation will get together sometime to share pictures of this groups many wonderful times together fishing or with families on 4th of July. Sorry I will not be able to attend services.

1 year ago