GIRLING, III, Robert George William|
Robert George William Girling, III
July 28, 1929-Dec. 14, 2013
Robert George William Girling, III, born July 28, 1929 in El Dorado, Arkansas to Robert G. W. and Mildred Massey Girling, died December 14, 2013 at home in Austin, Texas.
An adoring husband and loving father, he is survived by his devoted wife of 53 years, Bettie, their three children, Robert G. W., IV (Renee), Maria Schwenk (Jim), and Katherine de la Paz (Tres); thirteen grandchildren: Robert G. W. Girling, V (Stephanie), Gabrielle Girling, Karl Girling, Julia Sikes, Victoria Sikes, Paul Schwenk, Kacey Schwenk, Maddy Odom, Rebecca Odom, Kate Odom, Abby de la Paz, Cole de la Paz, and Olivia de la Paz; two great-grandchildren: Brittany Girling and Robert G. W. Girling, VI; brother, Charles (Pat); and many loving nieces and nephews. He is preceded in death by his sister, Louise Girling Kelley, and his son, Samuel Marcus Shaw Girling.
He grew up on the banks of the Bogue Chitto River in Holmesville, Mississippi, with its large oaks, cool swamps and rolling hills, moderate climate and gentle rains. He climbed trees, fished for trout, hunted in the woods and played on the river with his older sister, younger brother and a host of cousins and friends. As a youth, Bob helped his father in the Girling Nursery business by nurturing cuttings of azaleas and camellias, flowers that later abundantly graced the landscape of his Austin home. He was selected American Legion Boy's State award, graduated from Magnolia High School and attended Mississippi College in Clinton Mississippi, the school of both of his parents, older sister, and later, his daughter, Kathy. His days at Mississippi College were full and happy. He made friends for life, sang joyfully with the traveling chorale and found his calling as a preacher and orator. In his senior year, he served as pastor of several small churches and was elected President of the Senior Class. In addition he was awarded Outstanding Ministerial Student of the Year, Most Likely to Succeed, Choir Key for Membership in Chorale Club and Who's Who in American Colleges and Universities.
He entered New Orleans Baptist Seminary, and even before receiving his Bachelors in Divinity degree, began the life of a rural pastor caring for a number of congregations. He served the Air Force Reserves as Chaplain and later Captain. Afterward he enrolled in the University of Texas Graduate School of Social Work in Austin, Texas, where his life took on a whole new dimension after meeting Bettie Moore Garretson, the love of his life.
Within the first years of marriage, the young working parents of three young children discovered a need for help at home. What started out as a caregiving service for parents became the seed for a company that would serve hundreds of thousands of clients for years to come. In a corner of their bedroom with a secondhand student desk, Bob and Bettie launched a company that offered a new set of services that would change the face of patient care at home. Bettie and Bob founded Girling Health Care, Inc., while at the same time cherishing their close and loving family of four children. The two created a life together beyond their wildest dreams. The thousands of employees over 40 years shared in the joys and closeness of being a part of the larger Girling family. Upon retirement, Bob began a new full time career as PaPa to his growing brood of grandchildren and great grandchildren, each of whom he dearly loved. From teaching the little ones how to plant tomatoes in soft soil to catching a giant salmon in the great waters off Alaska, he treasured time with his each and all. Everyone wanted to be around PaPa with his sweet sense of humor, big laugh and gentle soul.
He was honored greatly by his peers for his love of service, natural leadership and generous spirit. Associations included Academy of Certified Social Workers and National Association of Social Workers, Budget and Audit Chairman and Treasurer. Memberships included Rotary Club; Texas Association of Home Health Agencies, President and Treasurer; National Association of Home Health Agencies, Nominating Committee; Austin Lyric Opera, Board of Directors; Austin Club; Headliners Club; Austin Country Club; Knights of the Symphony Vice Chancellor, Lord Chancellor, and King Brio. Honors included selection in Who's Who in the South and Southwest, Finance & Industry, America and World. Awards included Mississippi College Order of the Golden Arrow, Texas Association of Home Care's Ida Mae Herbert Meritorious Award for Outstanding Service, Austin Groups of the Elderly Vision Award, Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year, and UT Austin School of Social Work Charles I. Wright Distinguished Alumni Award.
A great man has passed our way and has touched us with his goodness and grace. He was a true gentleman in all ways and will be deeply missed.
Services will be held at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, December 21, 2013 at Weed-Corley-Fish Funeral Home on North Lamar.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to Austin Symphony or to a
Obituary and memorial guestbook available online at www.wcfish.com
Published in Austin American-Statesman from Dec. 17 to Dec. 18, 2013