Robert Ellis Wakefield (Bob) was born in Honolulu, Hawaii on October 27, 1935 to Herme Carol Neuzil and Ellis Kerr Wakefield. Ellis was a career U.S. Naval Officer based in the Pacific, so Bob’s early years were spent at bases in California, Hawaii, Guam, the Philippines, China and Japan. With their parents’ example, Bob and his younger sister Susan came to love the excitement of travel and learning naval history. Bob had vivid memories from December 7, 1941, when he witnessed the attack on Pearl Harbor. After WWII the family lived in Japan before moving to Arlington, Virginia. Bob loved fishing, woodworking, Boy Scouting and taking flying lessons. He attended the Saint James School in Hagerstown, Maryland (class of 1952), where he excelled academically and made life-long friends. He then attended Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania (class of 1957), majored in Geology and luckily met a feisty local girl named Barbara Flynn. After graduation, Bob returned to Arlington and worked as a cartographer for the U.S. Geological Survey in D.C. Bob and Barb married in 1959, their first child, Jody Lynn, was born in 1966 and they adopted their second child, William Reynolds (Billy), in 1970. Bob was active with the Boy Scouts, Big Brothers, St. Barnabas’ Episcopal Church (Annandale), Fairfax Jubilaires Barbershop Choir, and the Coast Guard Auxiliary (making rescues on the Chesapeake Bay). After retiring in 1996, Bob and Barb relocated to The Villages in Lady Lake, FL. In addition to entertaining, fishing and golf, Bob enjoyed a second career as a cab driver. He was known for his vast miniature lighthouse collection, his meticulously organized workshop and his extraordinary Christmas yard decorations. An animal lover, he lit up at the sight of any dog he met. Clever and funny, he could still delight friends and caregivers, even as dementia began to steal his memory and stamina.
Bob was preceded in death by his parents; his son, Billy; and his sister, Susan Fenn. He is survived by his wife of 63 years, Barbara Wakefield; his daughter, Jody Wakefield; cousins, Donna Mader and Pam Anger; sister-in-law, Sue Mitman; nieces, Michelle Mitman and Katy Fenn; nephew, Andrew Fenn; and many dear friends.
A memorial service will be held at 11am on September 23rd at Christ Lutheran Church in Summerfield, Florida. In lieu of flowers, please donate in Bob’s memory to Christ Lutheran or Cornerstone Hospice.