Robert L. Gilstrap, GMU Education Professor Dies at 79 Robert Lawrence Gilstrap, 79, an education professor emeritus at George Mason University in Fairfax, and the author of several books for children, teachers, and parents, died peacefully on Thursday, August 1, 2013. Dr. Gilstrap joined the faculty at George Mason University in 1971, after serving five years on the staff of the National Education Association in Washington, D.C. Prior to coming to the D.C. area, he was assistant professor at the University of Florida. During his tenure at George Mason, he taught classes in elementary and middle education and served in a variety of administrative positions including department chair. In 1984, he received the Distinguished Faculty Award for his contributions to the university and to the profession. In 1997, the year of his retirement, he was the first faculty member to receive the Distinguished Service Award presented annually by the Graduate School of Education. The following year he was named professor emeritus in recognition of his 26 years on the faculty of George Mason. Dr. Gilstrap began his teaching career in 1958, as a fourth grade teacher in Denton, Texas, where he received his bachelor's and master's degrees from North Texas State University. He also taught sixth grade in San Leandro, California, before earning his doctorate in teacher education as a National Defense Act Fellow at George Peabody College for Teachers in Nashville, Tennessee. A prolific writer and researcher throughout his career, Dr. Gilstrap is best known for THE SULTAN'S FOOL AND OTHER NORTH AFRICAN TALES, co-authored with Irene Etabrook, a librarian he met while serving with the United States Air Force (USAF) in Tripoli, Libya. Several stories from the collection have been anthologized in such collections as the JUNIOR GREAT BOOK series. He was a member of the USAF from September, 1954, to May, 1958. Dr. Gilstrap was born in Marshall, Texas, on August 10, 1933, and lived there until he graduated from Marshall High School in 1951. His name appears on the city's Wall of Distinction created to honor those who had distinguished themselves at the state, national, or international level. This honor came to him as the result of his active involvement since his undergraduate days in the Association for Childhood Education International (ACEI) for which he served as president from 1981 until 1983. A member of Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic Church in Palmyra, since moving to Lake Monticello in 2000, Dr. Gilstrap is a member of the Knights of Columbus, and recent member of the Legion of Mary and the parish choir. In lieu of flowers, contributions in his name should be made to the Association for Childhood Education International, 1101 16th St., N.W., Suite 300 Washington, D.C. 20036 USA, (202) 372-9986, http://acei.org
; or St. Peter and Paul Catholic Church in Palmyra, 4309 Thomas Jefferson Pkwy., Palmyra, VA 22963, 434-589-5201, http://saintspeterpaulpalmyra. org. Survivors include his wife of 49 years, Dorothy, of Lake Monticello; four children, Steve and Mara Gilstrap of Reston, Virginia, Guy and Mary Gilstrap of Weatherford, Texas, Annie Gilstrap of Norfolk, Virginia, and Patti Gilstrap of Brooklyn, New York; five grandchildren, Clint, Shaina, Paris, Leah, and James; sister, Patsy Harris of Sugar Land, Texas; and his niece and nephews, Jay Harris, Jim Harris, and Tibby Teykl. A funeral Mass will be conducted 2 p.m. Tuesday, August 6, 2013, at St. Peter and Paul Catholic Church in Palmyra, Virginia. The family will receive friends the hour prior to the service. Entombment services will be conducted 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, August 7, 2013, at the Fairfax Memorial Park in Fairfax. Friends may sign the guest register at teaguefuneralhome.com
This obituary was originally published in the Daily Progress.