Cover photo for Robert J Eaton's Obituary

Robert J Eaton

October 22, 1942 — January 3, 2024

Draper, Utah

Robert J Eaton


After suffering a brain hemorrhage on New Year’s Day, Robert Jan Eaton, 81, died peacefully on January 3, 2024 with Susan, his wife of 38 years, at his side. Bob was the only child born to Jesse H. and Elizabeth (Belle) Marquez Carson Eaton on October 22, 1942 in Kansas City, Missouri. He spent his youth in Gila, New Mexico where his parents operated a chicken ranch. He graduated from Cliff High School in 1960 and attended New Mexico State University in Las Cruces before transferring to the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque where he earned a Bachelor of Architecture degree in 1967.

Upon graduating, Bob found himself strongly desired by the local draft board during the Vietnam Conflict and saw the wisdom of attending Officer Candidate School. He served in the U.S. Army at several stateside posts and in the Mekong Delta of South Vietnam as a Platoon leader. Bob was lucky enough to be in the first reduction of troops in 1969 and fulfilled his service stationed in Hawaii. He was honorably discharged from Combat Engineers Unit Command in 1970 and began a fifty-year career in Architecture which brought him to Utah.

Although known as Stretch for much of his life, he began his professional career as Bob. His work left a legacy of airport projects in Utah, California and Nevada, and state wide projects throughout Utah. He spent his last few years working with the Navajo tribe in New Mexico and Arizona designing schools, government buildings, and medical facilities. He served his state and profession by serving on the Professional Regulatory Board for the State of Utah and as President of both the local and statewide organizations of the American Institute of Architects. He also served as a School Board Member for the Salt Lake City District School for the Arts.

Bob developed a great affection for the Navajo people and culture. His favorite place to visit was Santa Fe, New Mexico where he could not get enough of art galleries, green chili and the ambiance of his home state. Although he grew up in rural New Mexico on, as he termed it, tumble weeds and rattle snakes, one of his favorite things was performances of Ballet West in Salt Lake City where he served as a governing board member. Bob loved music and played bass guitar for several country western dance bands throughout high school and college. His taste in music and art became very eclectic and, when once asked to name his favorite singers, he answered: Willie Nelson, Luciano Pavarotti and Linda Ronstadt. Bob loved to ski, swim, sail and scuba dive. In his last years, he turned to writing as a hobby and published a fictional novel based upon his ancestor’s beginnings and lives as pioneers in southwest New Mexico. He felt an urgency to complete that novel before Christmas and was blessed to see that accomplishment in print prior to his passing.

Bob is survived by his beloved wife, Susan Rae Wiser Eaton; three children: Heidi Vail (Sam) Wainer, Joshua Ladd (Suzette) Eaton and Christina (David) Riches; seven grandchildren: Tobin, Kai, Isaac, Emery, Madeline, Nicholas, and Sydney; his first wife Merla Jean Cook Eaton and many beloved family members and friends. Bob was a person of integrity and was committed to hard work. He spent his life devoted to treating others as he wished to be treated and made every effort to befriend others. Bob was an honorable man with a pure soul and will be greatly missed. May he rest in peace.

Funeral services will be held Friday, January 19, at 10am in the chapel at the Utah Veterans Cemetery and Memorial Park at Camp Williams - 17111 South 1700 West (Camp Williams Road), Bluffdale, UT 84065. The military honor guard will conclude with interment of the urn at the columbarium niche on the grounds. We invite family and friends to join in honoring Bob on this day.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Robert J Eaton, please visit our flower store.

Past Services

Funeral Service

Friday, January 19, 2024

Starts at 10:00 am (Mountain time)

Utah Veterans Memorial Park

17111 So 1700 W, Bluffdale, UT 84065

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