Robert W. Searles

OLEAN - Robert W. Searles, 90, of Olean and a longtime resident of Rochester, passed away peacefully Friday (June 13, 2014) in the presence of his two sons.
Born Oct. 19, 1923, in Peckville, Pa., he was the son of Harold A. and Isabel Clarkson Searles. On Nov. 16, 1944, in Elkton, Md., he married Jeanne L. Revels, who predeceased him Dec. 16, 1997.
Mr. Searles graduated from Blakely High School in Peckville and immediately joined the U.S. Navy, where he proudly served for 30 years in a span covering World War II, the Korean Conflict, the Cold War era - including the Cuban Missile Crisis - and the Vietnam War.
With Navy aviation as a career and aviation electronics as a specialty, his boot camp training started in Bainbridge, Md. During WWII, he flew in blimps, defending U.S. Liberty Ships. He flew with the Navy as a "hurricane hunter," as well.
During the Cuban Missile Crisis in the 1960s, his job as a radio electronics specialist was to monitor the path of enemy submarines.
He served four tours of duty in Vietnam, during the Vietnam War.
His retirement from the U.S. Navy was in 1970 in Philadelphia, Pa., at which time he and his wife moved to New York state. He then worked for Monroe County in public safety communications. When he retired from Monroe County, he resided in Puerto Rico for eight years, after which he moved to Olean, where he had lived for the past five years.
He enjoyed traveling and especially tent camping with his family over the years. Another passion was being an amateur radio operator. Most recently, he began writing his memoirs for his family to treasure.
Surviving are two sons, Jack (Kathy) Searles of Olean and the Rev. Lawrence P. Searles, SJ, of Puerto Rico; two grandchildren, Emily (Bill Jr.) Sorokes and Andrew (Stephanie) Searles; two great-grandchildren, Liam Searles and Adalynne Searles; and several nieces and nephews.
In addition to his wife, he was predeceased by an infant daughter, Nancy Jeanne Searles, in 1952; and a sister, Arline Powell.
Friends will be received on Wednesday from 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 p.m. at the Casey, Halwig & Hartle Funeral Home, 3128 W. State Road, Olean. A Mass of Christian burial will be held Thursday (June 19, 2014) at 10 a.m. at St. Mary of the Angels Church. The Rev. Lawrence P. Searles, SJ, son of Mr. Searles, will be the principal celebrant. Burial will be at a future date in Archbald, Pa.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Friends of the Cattaraugus County Nursing Homes Inc., 2245 W. State St., Olean, NY 14760. Online condolences may be expressed at

Funeral Home

Casey Halwig & Hartle Funeral Home
3128 Nys Route 417 W Olean, NY 14760
(716) 372-0254

Published in The Olean Times Herald from June 15 to June 16, 2014