Robert Louis Gwaltney, 89, of Russellville, passed away after a brief illness on May 7, 2019.
Bob, as he was known to friends and family, was born in Geary, AR, to Coy Gwaltney and Mildred (White) Gwaltney, on February 24, 1930. He graduated from Geary High School in 1948. Bob married “the girl next door,” Patti Lou Hart and made a home in Geary. Their first child, Lucinda (Cindy) was born in Geary.
Bob was a member of the Oklahoma National Guard and was called to active duty to the 45th Division during the Korean War. He was awarded the Purple Heart and the Silver Star with a “V” for valor. Throughout his tour in Korea, he carried one of Cindy’s baby shoes in his pocket. Bob and Pat decided to remain the Army for a career. Daughter Pamela was born while they were stationed in Louisiana. Several assignments to Colorado, Indiana, and Georgia followed. The Gwaltneys spent several years in France and Arkansas where Bob worked on getting his bachelor’s degree from the College of the Ozarks. He was then given a tour in Vietnam while the family lived in Oklahoma. He was stationed in Texas, sent to Oklahoma State University for his MBA, Korea, Vietnam, Washington D.C., and Missouri before his retirement to Arkansas. After leaving the military, Bob headed the Red Cross Retirement Program, worked with the Arkansas Red Cross doing disaster relief with Pat, served as the Alumni Director for the University of the Ozarks, and owned Valley Small Engine Repair.
When Pat became ill, they moved to Spanish Cove in Yukon, Oklahoma. Pat passed away in 2006. After Pat’s death, Bob married another Geary girl, Joanne tough Long, until her death in 2016. Bob returned to Russellville to be closer to family in 2016.
Both Cindy and Pam remember Bob’s passion for people and adventure. The family would pack up the tent, four Army surplus sleeping bags, one of which smelled, and which Bob always took, and going on trips throughout the world. Bob’s ability to speak other languages was rather limited but that never stopped him from conversing with the people he met. In restaurants, he would always order the specialty of the house and was frequently served some rather unidentifiable dishes which he always ate with gusto. Both girls were taught to appreciate the world whether it was climbing Eiffel Tower in Paris, or attending a blessing of the Horses in an unknown Swiss village.
Bob is survived by his daughters, Cindy Lewis and her husband, Darrell Lewis; and Pamela Gwaltney and her husband, Sam Meyer; grandchildren, Michael Meyer of Havre de Grace, Maryland; and Robert Woodward and wife Tabatha of Russellville; and Amada Kralicek of Russellville; great grandchildren, PFC Christopher Woodward of Fort Bragg, NC; T.J. Turner of Russellville; Chayney Melton of Russellville; Wendy Lewis of Chunchula, AL; and Roy Lewis of Beebe, AR. He is also survived by his brother, Don Gwaltney and wife Helen of Calico Rock, AR; and many nieces and nephews.
In lieu of flowers, the family would like donations to be made to the River Valley Chapter of the MOAA Scholarship Fund, P.O. Box 1860, Russellville, AR 72811; or, The 45th Infantry Museum, 2145 NE 36th St, Oklahoma City, OK 73111.
Cremation arrangements are under the direction of Humphrey Funeral Service, Russellville. Cremains will be interred at Fort Sill National Cemetery at a later date. Internet obituary and online guestbook are available at www.humphreyfuneral.com.
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River Valley Chapter of the MOAA Scholarship Fund
P.O. Box 1860, Russellville AR 72811
The 45th Infantry Museum
2145 NE 36th Street, Oklahoma City OK 73111