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Robert Sherman LaForte


1933 - 2014 | Obituary Condolences
Robert Sherman LaForte Obituary
Robert Sherman LaForte, born September 8, 1933 in Frontenac, Kansas, passed away July 11, 2014 in Galveston, Texas, at the age of 80 after a long battle with cancer. Robert is survived by Frances, his loving wife of 53 years as well as 3 sons: Mark LaForte (wife Joan), Geoffrey LaForte (wife Sally), and Russell LaForte (wife Suzanne). He is also survived by 7 grandchildren: Wade (wife Alex), Seth(wife Casey), Rachel, Gwendolyn, Alexis, Charles, and Jacob LaForte; and 5 great grandchildren: E.J. Gay, Michael Gay, Lucas Wilson, Cade Wilson, and Remy LaForte.
He was preceded in death by his sister Rose Allai and his parents, Modest Nathaniel LaForte, and Josephine Ann Slapsak. He was an outstanding athlete at Frontenac High School. He joined the U.S. Army in 1953 and completed service in 1956. He graduated from Pittsburg State University in 1958. Next, he went on scholarship to the University of Kansas where he completed his PhD. in History in 1964. He taught History at East Texas State University in Commerce for 3 years. Interested in Archival Science and committed to lifelong learning, Bob next pursued postdoctoral studies at The University of Texas where he received a Masters of Library Science in 1968. He started on the faculty of The University of North Texas in 1968 where he established its archives in 1975. He later became the Chairman of the History department at UNT and retired in 1998.
Bob was a talented and prolific writer. Along with colleagues Ronald Marcello and Richard Himmel, he wrote 4 books: "Remembering Pearl Harbor"- focusing on the Japanese attack and its aftermath, "Building the Death Railway"- the ordeal of the American POW's in Burma in 1942-1945, "With Only the Will to Live"- accounts of American POW's in Japanese prison Camps, 1941-1945 and "Down the Corridor of Years"- the authorized history of the first 100 years of The University of North Texas.
After Retirement, Bob and Frances moved to the Houston area and settled in Pearland. They became faithful members of St. Thomas Episcopal Church, where Bob served as an usher.
Bob loved learning and valued education as a means to opportunity. Bob was never one to shy away from debate. He loved working crossword puzzles, Denton city politics, classical music, fine dining, and Kansas Basketball.
Funeral Services are planned for 2 pm, Wednesday, July 16, 2014 at St. Thomas Episcopal Church in Houston, Texas.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the Houston Food Bank.
Published in Morning Sun on July 16, 2014
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