A Tribute to Bob Krone

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Note: Bob Krone had a number of successful careers, including the Air Force, in which he reached the rank of Colonel, and as an educator who mentored numerous graduate students in a number of institutions. He was instrumental in the founding of the Kepler Space Institute, and served as its president until he died on September 15, 2021, at the age of 91. He also helped launch the Journal of Space Philosophy. Bob regularly attended the Overview Round Table, a weekly gathering sponsored by the Human Space Program. The following is a tribute to him that I wrote for his family’s memorial service.

Bob died on the same day that the Inspiration4 launch took place.

This was both appropriate and poignant because it was the beginning of a new era in spaceflight that Bob had foretold years before, and it was a confirmation of his vision. At the same time, I think he would have loved to have lived just a little longer and seen a few more flights like that one.

Bob inspired countless people to become involved in the great human adventure of migration into the solar ecosystem. And he educated many to have the tools with which to make the most of the incredible journey that is now taking place.

A founder and long-time president of the Kepler Space Institute (KSI), Bob laid the foundations for the first educational institution in the United States to be totally focused on space exploration and development. I believe that KSI will, in realizing his vision, play a major role in the human future on Earth and in space.

I was fortunate to know Bob and to be the recipient of one of his most beautiful qualities: unstinting support. Bob believed in my work on the Overview Effect, and he believed in me. When I was searching for a home for my course on space studies, Bob invited me to teach it at KSI. With that, I became a member of the faculty, which has been a very rewarding experience.

In every faculty meeting, Bob would take note of who was there and say in his distinctive voice, “John Mankins is here,” or “Frank White is here.” He made each of us feel important and that the meeting couldn’t really start until we arrived.
Even when he was very unwell, the took the time to post a review of the fourth edition of The Overview Effect on Amazon, which was both thoughtful and helpful.

Bob was also a regular member of a community called the Overview Round Table. We gather on Zoom every Wednesday at noon Eastern time to talk about “Bringing the Overview Effect Down to Earth” and to make plans for a positive evolution of humanity into the solar ecosystem. Bob almost always arrived early, which gave us a chance to chat; I cherished those moments. And he almost always ended those meetings with a final comment that began with “Frank White is…” followed by high praise I didn’t deserve, but appreciated anyway.

I believe the mark of a true leader is a focus, not on yourself, but on your team, whether it be the faculty and students of a university, a platoon in an army, or a group of “space cadets” intent on changing the world.

In that sense, Bob was a great leader, one of the best. I miss him every day, and when I think about him, I am comforted by imagining that I can hear his voice saying, “Bob Krone is (still) here.”

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