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Posted on January 16, 2015 | 3:43 p.m.

Samuel Romano of Santa Barbara, 1927-2015

Source: Laurie Romano

Samuel Romano

Samuel Romano, 87, passed away peacefully in his home on Jan. 14, 2015, in Santa Barbara.

He was born in Jersey City, N.J., on Jan. 24, 1927.

Sam served in the Navy during World War II and afterwards attended college on the G.I. Bill, earning a degree in mechanical engineering from the New Jersey Institute of Technology. Sam worked as a project engineer and manager across his career where his interest in transportation systems led him to many significant achievements.

In 1961, Sam and his family moved to Santa Barbara, where he worked at Delco Electronics. With President John F. Kennedy’s declaration to go to the moon, Sam assembled a team and worked with determination to ensure that a General Motors vehicle participated in the exploration of the moon. That vehicle, which became known as the Lunar Rover, was developed and built in Goleta and successfully traveled to the moon on the last three Apollo missions.

Following Delco, Sam worked at Minicars Inc. in Goleta, developing vehicle safety structures and measures that are now standard equipment in automobiles today. In 1987, Sam temporarily left Santa Barbara for Georgetown University to lead a fuel cell technology development program to help wean the automotive industry away from petroleum. Prototype systems were implemented in public transportation systems in Denver, Washington, D.C., and abroad.

Sam loved traveling, wine making, cultivating his orchard and a host of other activities, but most of all spending time with his family.

Sam was proceeded in death by his first wife, Dolores Fitzsimons. He is survived by his loving wife of 57 years, Margaret; four children, Cliff, Laurie (Keith), Tim (Chandra) and Mariliz (Doug); eight grandchildren, Brandon, Michelle, Colette, Stephanie, Andre, Paul, Camille and Angelina; and one great-grandson, Lucas.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Friendship Center or Santa Barbara Visiting Nurse & Hospice Care.


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