Bob was born on February 3, 1947, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, son of the late Samuel and Catherine McMorland (Rock). He embraced three beautiful traits passed down from his parents: a deep Catholic Faith, a love for music and dancing, and a great sense of humor. Devoted to Jesus’ Mother Mary, Bob prayed the Rosary daily without exception and wore his scapular and Miraculous Medal at all times. When still in his full vigor, he was always whistling while he worked around the house, tapping his wedding ring to music on the steering wheel as he drove, and looking for a chance to hit the dance floor with his wife Lynette (Lyn). Not a day would pass without Bob trying out new jokes on family, friends, and passers-by alike. All he knew him were treated to a steady diet of “Corn on the Bob.”
Bob was a Vietnam Veteran who proudly served the United States Navy on the USS Intrepid and USS Bainbridge. The Navy gave him two great gifts in return: his wife and his career. Bob met the love of his life, Lyn, on a blind date while in boot camp at Great Lakes Naval Base in Chicago. It was love at first sight! After a romantic letter-writing courtship from off the coast of Da Nang, he married Lyn on April 6, 1968 at St. Peter’s Catholic Church in Skokie, Illinois. From that day on, Bob put his heart, soul, and whole self into living out his vows to his bride: to love and honor her in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health, all the days of his life.
To provide for Lyn and their two children, Tim and Shannon, Bob leveraged his training as a “nuke” in “Rickover’s Navy” and devoted countless hours at Drexel University’s “night school” as a young dad to become a nuclear engineer for commercial nuclear power. Working for Stone & Webster, he designed the River Bend Station power plant in St. Francisville, Louisiana – the last one to “come on line” in the U.S. for over 40 years and still operational as it approaches its 40th anniversary of service.
Needless to say, Bob was extremely intelligent. He graduated in the all-male “Class 224” of the prestigious Central High School, the second oldest public high school in America. He obtained his Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Drexel University, then obtained and maintained numerous professional licenses for his nuclear work. Not only could he explain how to split the atom or solve a differential equation using a slide rule; he was widely read on a vast array of subjects and could speak with knowledge and conviction on science, technology, politics, history, Catholic doctrine, morality, or even Canon Law. On a lighter note, there were two subjects for which he had a lot of passion but little expertise: the weather and medicine. Bob talked as if he were a self-proclaimed meteorologist and a walking “WebMD” reference long before the Weather Channel or the internet existed.
Bob was extremely devoted to his children, Tim and Shannon. He spent evenings and weekends coaching their sports teams, driving them to tournaments, reviewing their homework, and “helping” with their school projects. He sacrificed greatly to send them to summer camps, take them on horizon-widening vacations, and support their evolving (and expensive) educational and vocational pursuits over the years. Once Shannon and Tim started families of their own, Bob dove into his role as “Pop” with equal if not even greater commitment to his grandchildren: Tim, Lucy, Jane, Bernadette, Andrew, Michael, Rene, and Luke.
Bob took his household responsibilities very seriously. He spent wee hours at his rolltop desk paying bills, filing taxes (by hand, of course), “doing the budget”, filing papers, organizing office suppliers, and making lists (of lists). He could be seen on ladders, under cars, or in crawl spaces with his “to-do” index cards, colored pens, mechanical pencils, and ruler tucked neatly into his pocket protector. Bob was “Mr. Preventive Maintenance” and a self-taught “DIY Guy” before there was YouTube.
It what free time remained, Bob loved woodworking, crossword puzzles, and Jeopardy (while Alex Trabek was still the host). Most of all he loved spending time with his “other half” and soulmate, Lyn. He loved going for walks, heading to the beach, hiking in the mountains, and traveling all over the country and the world on adventures because those are things that the love of his life loved!
Finally, Bob’s favorite endeavors as he grew older were those that combined spending time with Lyn and serving God and others. Until he was homebound, he relished attending daily Mass and praying in weekly Eucharistic Adoration alongside his wife. Bob’s biggest joy came from going with Lyn each week to nursing homes, hospices, and private residences to bring Jesus in Holy Communion to their aging sick and dying brothers and sisters in Christ. Bob and Lyn truly shined and complemented each other during these visits. After sharing sacred Sacramental moments and periods of prayerful reflection, Bob would regale his captive audience with his latest jokes while Lyn would offer a listening ear and a comforting word to those who were struggling. As always, God gave Bob & Lyn a double gift in return: He gave them a wonderful and ever-widening extended spiritual family, and He prepared them for Bob’s final journey from this beautiful but brief life on earth to his eternal and perfect life in Heaven.
Please pray with Lyn and family the following for Bob:
May holy angels lead you forth to paradise,
And may the martyrs greet your coming home.
May you find welcome there within God’s dwelling-place,
The radiant city, New Jerusalem.
Bob is preceded in death by his parents, Samuel and Catherine McMorland (Rock).
He is survived by his loving wife of 55 years, Lynette McMorland; son, Timothy McMorland (Tina); daughter, Shannon Martinez; sisters, Janice Leidtke and Linda Witkoski; grandchildren, Luke McMorland, Timothy Foley, Lucy Foley, Jane Foley, Bernadette Foley, Andrew Foley, Michael Foley, and Rene Martinez; great grandchild, Nova Foley.
A funeral mass for Robert will be held Thursday, January 18, 2024 at 1:30 PM at Saint Mary of The Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, 1009 Stafford Avenue, Fredericksburg, Virginia 22401. A burial will occur Friday, January 19, 2024 at 10:30 AM at Quantico National Cemetery, 18424 Joplin Road, Triangle, VA 22172.
In lieu of flowers, contributions in Robert's memory may be made to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, https://www.stjude.org/donate/donate-to-st-jude.html.