A photo of Robert “Bob” Walton Gore

Robert “Bob” Walton Gore

April 15, 1937 - September 17, 2020

Robert “Bob” Walton Gore of Newark died September 17, 2020 after a protracted battle with cancer.  He was 83.

Bob was born in Salt Lake City, UT, on April 15, 1937 to Wilbert L. and Genevieve W. Gore.  The Gore family moved from Utah to Connecticut, then to New Jersey, before finally settling in Newark, Delaware.  After graduating from Newark High School in 1955, Bob attended the University of Delaware where he earned a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering.  He continued his education at the University of Minnesota, where he earned a master’s degree and Ph.D. in chemical engineering.

During Bob’s sophomore year in college he solved a challenging technical problem related to polymer processing , which a short time later in 1958 helped successfully launch his parent’s startup company in the basement of their Newark home, W.L. Gore & Associates, Inc.

Initially focused on providing electronic wire and cable products, by 1969 the company’s cables made it to the moon as part of the famed Apollo 11 space mission.  During this same year, Bob was engaged in research to stretch polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) for use in pipe-thread tape, when he discovered a process that allowed PTFE to be stretched nearly 1000% and form a micro-porous structure consisting mostly of air.  This groundbreaking discovery has since found utility in a wide range of product applications such as artificial vascular grafts, various medical devices for heart repair, industrial filters, pollution control devices, waterproof/breathable clothing, industrial and personal electronic devices, and numerous other applications.  Bob was famously hands on for personally testing any of the company’s consumer oriented product such as GORE-TEX rainwear, and it was not unusual for him to be out in driving rainstorms checking garments and footwear for waterproofness.

Over the course of Bob’s career he received 9 patents in the field of fluoropolymers, was elected to the National Academy of Engineering, and in 2006 was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame.  He led Gore from 1976 to 2000 as the company’s president, and served on the board of directors for 57 years, 30 of which were as chairman.

Bob was a big believer in the value of education, particularly in the fields of science and engineering.  He served as a trustee of the University of Delaware Research Foundation and also as a member of the school’s board of trustees.  In 1998, Bob and his mother Vieve donated funds for a new building on the University’s green, which was named Gore Hall in their honor.   In 2013 Bob and his wife Jane contributed to the construction of the University’s state-of-the-art science and engineering research laboratories, which were named in their honor.  Bob also made significant contributions to the University of Minnesota, one of which was a wing named the Gore Annex. 

In his leisure time Bob enjoyed fishing, spending time at the beach, family backyard cookouts, and generally socializing where hamburgers and beer could be found.  Additionally, he was a prolific reader and especially enjoyed science magazines.

Bob greatly admired and always credited the work of thousands of fellow Associates over the course of 6 decades for building Gore into the company it is today.  His family, friends, colleagues, associates, and members of the surrounding community will miss him dearly for his love, friendship, enthusiasm, generosity, and sincere interest in their wellbeing.

Bob leaves behind a large, extended family.  He is survived by his wife Jane of Newark, DE; 4 Children, Scott Gore of Newark, DE and his wife Larisa; Tom Gore of Newark, DE and his wife Annette;  Sharon Rubin of Wilmington, DE and her husband Ed; Brian Gore of Dewey Beach, DE and his companion Lisa; 6 stepchildren Debi Moore of Fair Hill, MD;  Jayne Mitchell-Werbrich of Newark, DE and her husband Tim; Jack Arnold of Deerfield Beach FL and his wife Nicki;  Tom Coons of Newark, DE and his wife Jeanne Rapley;  Chris Coons of Wilmington, DE and his wife Annie; Steve Coons of Annapolis, MD; sister Susan Gore of Cheyenne, WY; sister Ginger Giovale of Flagstaff, AZ and her husband John;  brother Dave Gore of Corvallis, OR and his wife Cecilia;  sister Betty Snyder of Wilmington, DE and her husband Tom; 28 grandchildren; 11 great grandchildren; and numerous nieces and nephews.

The family is grateful for the compassionate care rendered by the staff of Johns Hopkins Hospital, and particularly appreciates the extraordinary dedication of Dr. Matthias Holdhoff.

In lieu of flowers, gifts in memory of Robert Gore may be directed to support the Brain Cancer Program at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center. Please make checks payable to Johns Hopkins University. Gifts may be mailed with a memo indicating that this gift is in memory of Robert Gore to the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center, PO Box 17029 Baltimore, MD 21297-1029.

Memorial plans will be announced at a later date.


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13 Condolences for Robert “Bob” Walton Gore

  • We are honored to have known Bob. An amazing, kind and humble man. Our prayers are with the family.

  • Jack & Nicki : Please receive my deepest sympathies for you and the rest of the family. May the soul of your father rest in peace with our heavenly Father

  • Prayers and hugs from South Georgia. Pray for comfort and peace in this time of loss Love y’all ❤️
    Lynne and John Smith

  • Les and I will miss seeing Bob in our neighborhood. He was a kind, genuine and humble man. We send our thoughts and prayers to Jane and the entire family.

  • To the Gore family,

    As acquaintances of Bob an close friends of Brian and Lisa for many years, we are very sorry for your loss as well as that of society at large. We wish you comfort in this difficult time, and though we know that your missing him will never end, we know that he will remain forever in your hearts.

  • Sending prayers to Family. I am fortunate and grateful for having known Bob.

  • We are sending our deepest sympathies to the entire Gore family, we are honored to have known Bob for so many years. We have all lost an outstanding man. The world doesn’t have many of his kind, and so we will miss him very much.

  • Bob was a gifted and talented man and we feel lucky to have known him. We send our thoughts and prayers to his family.

  • It was with sadness that we learned of Bob’s passing. For all of his professional accomplishments, academic acknowledgments, and philanthropic pursuits, I’ll remember Bob as warm and engaging and as “down-to-earth” as any individual I’ve ever met. As such, he had a balanced and authentic perspective on life that was refreshing and will be missed.

    Bob’s earned the deepest respect for the many thousands of lives he’s enriched through W.L. Gore and Associate and the thousands more who’ll benefit from his charitable contributions to the University of Delaware and the University of Minnesota. He was a true titan in so many ways. We will miss you, Bob. May you rest in peace.

  • I was so sorry to hear of Bob’s passing. I have fond memories of playing football and hanging out with Bob in school. They don’t make them like Bob anymore. My deepest sympathies.

  • My deepest condolences to the Gore family for your loss. I remember well the warmth and love that was present in the Gore home during Newark High School days. May his memory be a blessing.

  • “Hey, whats buzzin cousin” Bob, I love & miss you very much. I thank you for not only being my cousin but more for being my FRIEND.
    All my memories of time we spent together will remain in my appreciation of our friendship.
    Rest in peace—cousin Verl.

  • I feel very proud to have know Bob. Our condolences to the family. You are all in our prayers.