Robert M. Stuck: Inventor, engineer, prostate cancer survivor and friend to the URF

Categories: Winter 2021
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Bob and Debbie Stuck

Bob Stuck grew up on a dairy farm in northern Indiana and credits the routine of milking cows at 4:30 morning and evening as providing the foundation for learning life lessons related to hard work, commitment, and development of a “can-do” attitude.

Working his way through college as a part-time draftsman, Bob earned his degree in mechanical engineering.  He settled in the Chicago area and rose to become Vice President of Engineering and Research for a large multi-national Chicago company.  In 1971, Bob relocated to the Charlotte area to take advantage of a business opportunity.  He founded Marshall Air Systems, headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina in 1976 to address environmental concerns unique to the restaurant industry brought about by newly created air-quality standards and substantial increases in energy costs. Bob holds many patents spanning aerodynamics, food-processing, and food-holding equipment.  Marshall Air manufactures and markets equipment to fast-food restaurants throughout the world.

Born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Bob’s wife, Debbie, moved to Charlotte as a youngster.  She was one of the founding members of Marshall Air Systems, starting as a college intern.  Under her direction, Marshall rapidly rolled out gas versions of conveyor broiler systems.  Debbie’s expertise in purchasing and operations complemented Marshall’s engineering philosophy and drove the firm’s reputation of “Quality on Time”.   Today Debbie serves the company as CEO.

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Bob and Debbie celebrating their 40th wedding anniversary.

Bob’s passion is wildlife, conservation, and hunting. He is a life member of many conservation organizations and has hunted in numerous countries around the world.

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Bob is in his element surrounded by Setters.

Bob and Debbie live on Lake Wyle, outside of Charlotte, North Carolina with their two English Setters, Baron and Lillian.  Rosemary, a newly acquired pandemic rescue puppy is the latest member of their family.  The Stucks own several farms in the Carolinas where they raise beef cattle and Loblolly Pine trees that are harvested for lumber and paper.  Together, they hunt quail and pheasant with their English setters at their ranch and every year enjoy hunting excursions in different states around the country.


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Bob’s Piper Cub

Bob is an avid pilot and frequently attends the annual aircraft “fly-in” in Oshkosh Wisconsin.   After “camping” under the wings of a World War II DC 3 cargo plane with friends, Bob came home and discussed the benefits of “camping” in a motorcoach with Debbie.  This resulted in the purchase of the motorcoach that has allowed them to travel with their dogs and other family members.   In this regard, they have developed a wanderlust and seized the opportunity to travel from Maine to Arizona and marvel at the beauty of America.  Over more than 6 years, they have visited many landmarks and national parks, including Mt. Rushmore, the mountains of Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, and the fantastic balloon festival in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

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Bob and Debbie (and their Setter, Isabella) enjoying the fabulous balloon fiesta.

In 2002 Bob learned that he had prostate cancer.  After researching options, he believed he could benefit from a radical prostatectomy.  He learned of Dr. Catalona through a friend of a friend who had been treated for prostate c and recommended Dr. Catalona.  The next day, Bob opened up the Wall Street Journal, and on the front page there was an article highlighting the ten most experienced prostate cancer surgeons in the world.  Dr. Catalona was one of the surgeons highlighted in that article.  Shortly thereafter, Bob called Dr. Catalona’s scheduler and arranged a consultation and a surgery date.  That evening Dr. Catalona called Bob and spent an hour explaining the procedure and answering Bob and Debbie’s questions.  After Bob’s surgery, Dr. Catalona gave him a copy of The Quest that summarized Dr. Catalona’s research and provided snapshots of Dr. Catalona’s leadership and collaboration with other scientists around the world.  As an engineer and an inventor, Bob has spent his life researching, developing and testing ideas. Dr. Catalona’s creativity and passion to cure prostate cancer and his dedication to patient care resonated with Bob.

Shortly thereafter, Bob was asked to serve on the URF Board and has done so for many years,  currently serving as Vice-President.  His business acumen, creative thinking, and keen insights benefit the work of the URF.  Bob has the utmost respect for Dr. Catalona and his world-renowned research as well as his dedication to patient care.


Photos courtesy of Deborah Stuck

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