Robert Mandel Lurie

Dr. Robert M. Lurie, 87, of Lexington, passed away peacefully on February 10, after a brief illness. Bob Lurie lived his entire life in New England – growing up in Lewiston, Maine and Putnam, Connecticut, living in Cambridge while attending MIT, earning both a B.S. and PhD and then settling in Lexington for 55 years.

Bob was a dedicated and loyal alum of the class of ’52 at MIT, donning the beaver mascot costume at class events and proudly wearing his red MIT sports coat to every reunion.

Early in his career, Bob worked in the aerospace industry and was best known for spearheading a project involving the construction and composition of the Apollo 11 heat shield, while at Avco Corp., and was photographed for National Geographic with a "loom" of his design used to manufacture aeronautic nose cones. Later in his career, with his business partner Tom O’Connor, he successfully built Nyacol Inc., a specialty chemicals company that continues to operate to this day.

He and his wife of 65 years, Nancy Alperin Lurie, traveled the world, visiting countries and cultures well before it was trendy to do so. He participated in and taught many classes at the Harvard Institute for Learning in Retirement, where he was renowned for his passion around photography and technology. Bob stayed active until the very end, and his intellectual capability never weakened. He had an impressive command of a wide range of topics – including music, art, literature, politics, science, photography, math and computers. His love of music and armchair-conducting was capped off by his appearance as the guest conductor of the Boston Pops, conducting ‘Stars and Stripes Forever’, to celebrate his 60th birthday.

Bob and Nancy were admired as true role models for a great marriage. Bob was a wonderful father to Joe [Debbie Zinck], Rachel Sieber [Jon], and Karen Isaacson [Mike], and was a caring and interested Grandpa to Jacob Lurie, Eli Lurie, Ben Sieber, Hannah Sieber, Emily Isaacson, and Gabe Isaacson. He was an uncle to many and had a wide circle of friends; he was respected and admired by those who knew him and his extroverted personality ensured you always knew when he was in the room.

Bob oft quoted his favorite saying: “If you have a choice between lucky and smart, pick lucky”. He was one of the fortunate few who did not have to make the choice, as he was both. Bob will truly be missed for his amazing intellect, endless curiosity, and boundless energy.

Services will be Wednesday at Temple Isaiah, 55 Lincoln Street in Lexington at 10:00am.

Shiva will follow interment until 4pm, and then from 6:30-9:00pm. It will then continue on Thursday from 6:30-9:00pm at the home of Rachel and Jon Sieber.

In lieu of flowers, contributions in memory of Bob may be made to the Breast Ovarian Cancer Genetics and Prevention Research Fund at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center at or by check made payable to “Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center” with “Robert Lurie/ Breast Ovarian Cancer Genetics and Prevention Research Fund” on the memo line and mailed to: Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Office of Development, 330 Brookline Ave – OV, Boston, MA 02215.


  • Temple Service Wednesday, February 13, 2019

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