Robert John Cross, age 91, passed away at home, surrounded by his family, from Alzheimer's complications. He was born in Chicago, IL, the elder son of Austin and Hannah Cross, attended Austin High School in Chicago, and was attending Carleton College when he enlisted for Naval Officer's Training and was called to active duty July, 1943. His WWII overseas duty was with Naval Group China from 1944-46, first in SE China in southern Anhwei, and after VJ day in the Shanghai Port Director's Office. He returned in September, 1946 to finish his senior year at Carleton College where he met his future wife of 65 years, Elizabeth Thale of Chicago. They married in June, 1948. Bob received the MLS degree from the University of Washington in June, 1955 and began his subsequent career as a librarian, mainly in northwest universities - The University of Washington, Oregon State College, Boeing Scientific Research Library, Seattle University, Western Washington University - and retired in 1987 from the Wilson Library at Western Washington University. Bob was a devoted family man, and enjoyed sightseeing car trips throughout the US to visit family and spent many summers enjoying Lake Michigan shores at Betty's family summer cottage. In the 1980's he and Betty began frequent foreign travel, and celebrated retirement spending three months with a student group from WWU in Greece. In later years both greatly enjoyed cruising. Bob was also a devoted dog lover and loved walking the family dogs; there were always one or two around needing Bob. Bob was preceded in death by his parents and most of his cousins. He is survived by his loving wife Betty, children Thomas A. Cross and Thale (husband Eric) Jarvis, four grandchildren, and his brother Thomas C. Cross and his four children, and grandchildren. Bob recently enjoyed visits and friendships with WWU Retirement Assn. colleagues and at Adult Day Health Center, St. Joseph South Campus. Special family thanks are due to his compassionate caregiver, Lisa Parker, whose skills and care greatly helped Bob and his family during his last months. On November 14, 2013, Bob pulled up anchor, left worldly cares behind, and caught the wind for a final adventure. A gathering is planned for the spring and will be announced later. A memorial donation in Robert's name can be made to Whatcom Hospice Foundation, 2901 Squalicum Parkway, Bellingham, WA 98225. Please share memories with the family at www.westfordfuneralhome.com.
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Published in Bellingham Herald on Nov. 17, 2013