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1926 - 2015 Obituary Condolences
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December 04, 2016

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Preview Entry
December 04, 2016

Please don't submit copyrighted work; original poems, songs or prayers welcomed. reviews all Guest Book entries to ensure appropriate content. Our staff does not correct grammar or spelling.

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 Memories & Condolences
This Guest Book will remain online permanently courtesy of Griffin Leggett – Forest Hills Funeral Home and Memorial Park.
August 17, 2015

I wanted to share some of the above about Robert. I have chosen but a few descriptive character traits applicable to him based upon over 30 years of knowing him and being a part of his family.

Reserved: Many have spoken concerning what a quiet man Robert was. While it is true he did not engage in idle chitchat he was an intelligent and well-spoken man. This I'm sure comes as no surprise to anyone who knew him.

Devout: Robert was devoted in service to God, family, community and country. He displayed reverence for God, love to this family, and service to his community and country. Everyone knows about his service to his community as an educator, but he was also after retirement the voice of reason with many of those in his neighborhood by actively participating in meetings designed to promote the preservation and safety in the Allendale neighborhood where he and Flo lived a good portion of their lives and raised their children. His service to his country in World War II is documented in his obituary. What may have been missed is that if you do a little math you'll notice that Robert was 18 years old when the 8th Army Rhineland campaign began. According to what I've read he would've spent his 19th birthday in bitterly cold and snowy conditions somewhere in France. I personally do not know what role Robert played during that campaign. He neither volunteered nor did I ask about his service. Because of his previously mentioned reserved nature Robert felt no need to promote his own accomplishments. There is no doubt that he and his fellow soldiers are and were heroic in their service.

Hospitable: While I have no doubt that Robert, as with any father, considered me wholly inadequate to marry his beautiful daughter. That being said he never through word or deed expressed those sentiments. Quite the opposite, both he and Flo from the moment Arrah and I were married welcomed me into the family. They did not treat me as someone who had married into the family, but made me a part of the family just as if I had been born to them.

Unequivocal: Whether it was politics, running a school, appropriate attire or how to mow the yard, to Robert there was a right way of doing things. He was not overbearing or oppressive, but he was right.

Intelligent: Anyone who engaged Robert in conversation knew right away that he had native intelligence. In addition to that, he was well read. He liked to read biographies. I believe he did this because he knew that learning from the past is the best way to succeed in the future. He also kept abreast of current events and it was enjoyable for me to converse with him about both the past and the present.

Amusing and adventurous: While people often describe Robert as quiet and serious, he could be amused by something that was truly funny. He did not care for sarcasm as a form of humor (but he tolerated me anyway) which I attribute to all of his years dealing with teenagers as an educator. But under the right circumstances he could truly get giddy with laughter. On the adventurous side Robert was not afraid to try to new things. For example, there are those of his generation who have no use for computers and other technology, but Robert with the prodding of Alex and John would venture into the realm of cyberspace.

Feared: Because of my marriage to Arrah, I had more than one former Bryant High School student ask in fearful disbelief if Mr. Oliphant was really my father-in-law. I always found it amusing because of the reasons I previously stated, but applauded Robert's obvious ability to instill the fear required to keep order and control over a school full of teenagers. I can't imagine that the fear was due to overt actions by Robert, but probably was inferred by those students due to his stern expression and as mentioned earlier his unequivocal nature.

Kind, loving, and equitable: All of my anecdotal evidence of these traits comes from watching Robert with his grandchildren. I have an independent memory of each grandchild sitting in Robert's lap and having a book read to them. Each of them probably do not remember it, because it was done when they were very young and at a time when reading to a child is most important. Also, both Robert and Flo showered all the grandchildren with gifts and love. From Caitlin to Carson all shared equally in their affection and resources (especially at Christmas).

As a result of all that I have written before and much more, Robert was RESPECTED. In my eyes I consider him to be A MAN'S MAN. He and Flo are missed.
August 17, 2015
Mr. Oliphant was a very good teacher, he was very strict. As a teacher and principal he had a tough job with us. He did his job very professionally and we all respected him. The students in the Bryant School System were very blessed by him.
August 17, 2015
When I came to Bryant in the 9th grade, I was somewhat intimidated by Mr. Oliphant as he was the most strict teacher. Sometimes later I would stay at school when we had an away basketball game. I did not have transportation therefore it was best for me to stay and catch the bus to the game. One time he saw me there and invited me to his apartment across the street. I believe he fed me and was so very nice to me. Later, when in class, he showed his firmness and strictness I knew in his heart he was a good and kind man. After all these years I still remember him well. Kent Jones
August 17, 2015
Arrah, Alex, and John,
We are so sorry for your loss. Wendell and I were on our anniversary trip during all of this and found out about it when we returned, Kim told us. We did not get back until Sunday and missed the visitation and funeral. If we can help in any way, just let us know. We loved Robert and Flo. They were always friendly and would help in any way they could. So many memories of our working at school together!!!! Again, if you need us, just call.
Our prayers and thoughts are with all of you.
Judy and Wendell Plyler
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