Close the bug report then, as the scene is not at all simple and has commercial content. Guess I'll be sticking with 2.79.
Sep 17 2018
Aug 15 2018
Sep 15 2017
Sure. I also did another experiment. I exported a model from Poser as an .obj. I did this twice, once with full texture path names and once exporting the textures to the folder.
Thank you both. Your answers helped me to identify the cause. The other program compiling the .obj (exporter) is creating corrupt images of the materials, and I suspect this faulty code is causing Blender to crash. After manually replacing the texture images in the export file with valid images, the Blender import to Cycles worked fine.
BTW, I had tried 4 different objects before posting here and all had resulted in the same issues. My bad for not including the exporter in the possible fault line.
This can be closed, no bug here....