The obituary of Robert W. "Ike" Eigell, which appeared April 3, omitted the first name of his daughter, Meta Patricia Wallace. (Published 4/5/03)
Robert W. "Ike" Eigell, 91, an expert in mine warfare and explosive ordnance disposal who retired from the Navy as a commander in 1964, died March 24 at home in Vienna. He had Alzheimer's disease.
From 1956 to 1959, Cmdr. Eigell was officer in charge of the Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technical Center at Indian Head. Later, he represented the Navy's Bureau of Ordnance at the 1957 NATO Mine Warfare Conference in Brussels.
He was born in Bismarck, N.D. As a young man, he was a cowboy in Montana and in 1936 joined the Navy. His early assignments included explosive ordnance disposal training and research. He was posted to Pearl Harbor shortly after the Japanese attack on Dec. 7, 1941. There he designed and developed a remotely operated bomb fuse extractor to remove fuses from unexploded bombs. After the war he was assigned to the office of the Chief of Naval Operations in Washington as a coordinator of mine and bomb disposal.
He was mines and mine warfare adviser to the U.S. military mission in Turkey in 1948 and then a staff mine warfare officer in Charleston, S.C. In the early 1960s, he returned to Charleston and retired there in 1964. He returned to the Washington area and settled here in 1965.
Cmdr. Eigell was author of two books, "Recollections of a Mustang," which chronicled his Navy career, and "Cows, Cowboys, Canners and Corned Beef," about his experiences as a cowboy in Montana.
He played the violin, banjo, piano, harmonica and guitar. His avocations included Western history and military history.
His awards included the Navy and Marine Corps Medal and two Navy Commendation Medals.
Survivors include his wife of 52 years, Mellie Eigell of Vienna; two children, Patricia Wallace of Centreville and Dennis Henry Eigell of Vienna; a sister; and a grandchild.