... "For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens" ... II Corinthians 5:1
We are once again comforted in the promise of eternal life, through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, as we bid farewell to the earthly house of our beloved husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather, brother, uncle, cousin and friend, Mr. Robert Louis Irving Sr., who after mere hours of celebrating the blessing of a loving family gathering and cookout at his home, peacefully took his eternal rest to be with the Lord on Sunday, March 23, 2014.
Robert's home was always a humble, loving, haven of love, "whose doors were opened with welcomed hinges" to family and friends located at the corner of 3524 Heritage Road in Hopewell, Va.
Robert, who was lovingly referred to by his siblings as "Bob," was a precious gift from God born to the late Luverster Irving Grammer ("Tam") and Nathaniel White on July 16, 1946, in Prince George County, Va. The gift of family was always dear to his heart as he frolicked and teased his 11 siblings as a fun, loving, mischievous little boy. Robert has now been welcomed into a heavenly family reunion to join his dear parents, his siblings, the late Nathaniel Irving and Eugene Grammer, and his twin daughters who passed away at childbirth.
In his childhood years Robert attended Harrison Grove Elementary School in Prince George County. Although he did not complete a formal education, Robert's life was blessed by the favor and mercies God as he thrived into adulthood as a wise, handsome, loving, caring and supportive man, who was full of compassion and wisdom, especially to his grandchildren and his great-grandchildren, who were dearest to his heart. Robert was a hard working industrious man who skillfully provided for his family. He was gainfully employed at Hercules Inc. in Hopewell, Va., where he retired after many years of faithful service. Robert was a sharp, stylish, well-dressed young man who loved the sport of baseball and was considered an avid fisherman, huntsman and talented dancer, who skillfully performed his famous "James Brown split" to the delight of his family and many friends.
On Sept. 12, 1964, Robert was joined in marriage to a sweet, loving, kindhearted young woman who remained by his side for six months short of 50 golden years, the former Helen Allen. Their wonderful union was blessed by God with five loving and dedicated children, Robert Louis Jr., Kenneth Lee, Juanita Ann, Carleen Lavern and Carolyn Denise.
Robert proclaimed his commitment to God as a loyal, dedicated servant of Bethel Chapel in Hopewell, Va., where he proudly served as a deacon for many years. He later united in membership as a faithful member of Morning Star Baptist Church in Burrowsville/Prince George County. He found great joy in worshipping God on each Sunday morning until declining health prevented him from attending on a regular basis. But still, in the midst of it all, Robert remained faithful in his heart to the ministry of his beloved church family.
Robert was a true testament of prolific strength and determination to his entire family. He never complained about his debilitating condition and was always eager to be a blessing to everyone. His grandchildren and his great-grandchildren were the "apple of his eyes." He was living proof that with God, even in the midst of sickness ... "all things are possible." He strived to enjoy life to its fullest and remained an inspiration to everyone around him. We will dearly miss his smile, his laughter, his encouragement and even his love for a spirited game of Spades. Thanks be to God Almighty for blessing us with the presence of a loving and caring man. We rejoice in the assurance of God's word that though his now absent from his tired, weak and physical frame, his new body and his precious soul is now present with the Lord!
Robert's awesome and inspiring legacy will be cherished by his loving and devoted wife, Helen Allen Irving; his loving and devoted children, Deacon Robert L. Irving Jr. (Deaconess Charlene H.) of Spring Grove, Va., Deacon Kenneth L. Irving (Anita C.) of Hopewell, Va., Juanita A. Irving of Prince George, Va., Carleen L. Howard (Anthony Sr.) of Disputanta, Va., and Carolyn D. Irving of Chesterfield, Va.; 12 loving grandchildren, Terrell Crockett (Ashely), whom he lovingly called "Ralph," Britney Irving, Shunika Crockett, Jasmine Irving, Shawntell Irving, Justin Irving, Robert Irving III ("Trey"), DeShawn Coleman, Kendale Irving and Kyshaun Irving, whom he lovingly called (his "Wheaty"), Anthony Howard Jr. ("AJ") and Carly Howard; three precious great-grandchildren, Amari Irving, Andre Irving and Mariah Irving; nine loving and devoted siblings, William Irving, Jennie Blanding, Eliza Peterson (William), Florence Tate, James Grammer (Margie), Irene Poindexter (Ronald), Katherine Grammer, John Grammer and Joyce Blanding (Herbert); three sisters-in-law, Mildred Allen, Shirley Allen and Minnie Harris; one brother-in-law, William "Bubba" Allen; devoted niece, Connie Wyatt; special devoted friends, James McDaniel, Lee Walker, William Peterson, William Allen, Jimmy Robert Rose, Elnora Wyche, Thomas McGhee and Dawn Jones; and his dear nieces, nephews, cousins, Heritage Road community neighbors and many wonderful friends.
Services for Mr. Robert L. Irving Sr. will be held 2 p.m. Saturday, March 29, 2014, at Morning Star Baptist Church, 19121 Brandon Road, Spring Grove, Va.; the Rev. Dr. Robert L. Elliott Jr., pastor, eulogist. The interment to follow at the church cemetery.
The family will receive at 3524 Heritage Road, Hopewell, and may be contacted by calling 804-458-5475.
Family members and friends are invited to pay final tribute to Mr. Irving at www.jmwilkersonsince1874.com
Funeral arrangements entrusted to the staff of J.M. Wilkerson Funeral Establishment Inc., 102 South Ave., Petersburg, Va., 804-732-8911, www.jmwilkersonsince1874.com