It is with a very heavy heart to report that Robert “Bob” Thibault passed away on October 11 at the age of 74. Bob is survived by his wife, Nancy; his children, Timothy R. Thibault, Gainesville, VA, Tina (Matthew) O’Connor, Marietta, GA; and several grandchildren.
Bob had served the forensic science profession and the American Academy of Forensic Sciences for 34 years. He received his undergraduate degree from Mt. Saint Mary’s college in 1973, and his Master of Forensic Science degree from George Washington University in 1980. Bob was elected into AAFS membership in 1981, and attained the status of Fellow in the General Section in 1985. His outstanding service to the Academy was acknowledged by the General Section in 2007 when it created one of its highest honors and named it the Robert “Bob” Thibault Award. The award honors those who exemplify the qualities of its namesake as being selfless, committed, dedicated, service-oriented, and a leader. The first recipient of the “Bob Thibault Award” was Bob T himself in 2008. The Academy acknowledged Bob in 2010 with the Distinguished Fellow Award.
Bob’s contributions to the Academy were surpassed by none. He served as the General Section Program Committee Chair in 1990-91, the Section Secretary in 1991-93, and as the Section Chair in 1993-95. He served on the AAFS Council 1991-95, and as a member of the Nominating Committee 1993-95. Bob assumed the ominous task as member and eventually Chair of the Policy and Procedure Committee from 1995-2006. His additional service included section representative on the AAFS Board of Directors 1996-99 as well as member and Chair of the Bylaws Committee 1997-2012. Bob also served on the Journal of Forensic Sciences Editorial Board from 2003-12.
Bob’s leadership extended to the Forensic Sciences Foundation on which he served as a trustee for eight years. He served as FSF Secretary 2003-06, as FSF Vice-Chair 2006-08, and he served on numerous FSF committees including the Research Committee, the Education Committee, and the Student Travel Grant Committee.
In addition to receiving the Bob T Award in 2008, Bob was honored by the General Section with two additional awards: the Paul W. Kehres Meritorious Service Award in 1996 and the John R. Hunt Award in 1999. Before his professional retirement in 2009, Bob’s career included service as a Forensic Science Advisor on the Department of Justice, International Criminal Investigative Training and Assistance Program (ICITAP) project in Azerbaijan (2002-07); Chief of the Imaging and Technical Support Division and Laboratory Quality Manager (or Forensic Science Administrator) for the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation laboratory (USACIL); Special Agent of the U.S. Air Force Office of Special Investigations (AFOSI); and 1958-88 Active duty Military (retired as Major in 1988). He received many military awards and decorations.
Bob’s “can do” attitude will be sadly missed by his friends and colleagues around the world. His thoroughness and attention to detail, along with his cheerful smile, will especially be missed by the AAFS staff.