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Robert J. LAWS

LAWS, Robert J. of Belleair, passed away on Saturday, June 15, 2013. He was born in Hot Springs, AR on October 23, 1922. He was predeceased by his parents, Wiley Luther Laws and Julia Elizabeth Fisher and a son, Robert David Laws in 1998. Bob leaves behind his wife, Clara Staley Laws; a son, John Laws, of Largo; three daughters, Susan Biro, Lori Bax, both of Clearwater, and Patricia Gibson, of Apopka; grandsons, Ryan Biro, Kenneth Gibson and Justin Sodders; granddaughters, Staley Gibson and Michelle Sodders; great-granddaughter, Mackenzie Marie; foster Japanese daughter, Kikuko Kitano. He enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps on Nov 1, 1940 and served in the Pacific in WW II and the Korean War. He served with the USMC for a total of 15 years and attained the rank of Major. He entered boot camp at Parris Island, SC and in February, 1941, he was sent to Washington, D.C. as special radio operator for the Navy Department. As the war began, he was sent to the USS Idaho as part of a Marine contingent and special radio operator. In order for him to be eligible to participate in this program, it required Bob to attend the U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis, MD. He entered the Naval Academy in June, 1943 and graduated with a BS degree. He was Plebe Commander of a class of 820 midshipmen and graduated June 6, 1946. While in Washington, D.C., he had the honor of marching in the funeral for President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1945. After graduation he attended Marine Officer Boot Camp in Quantico, VA and joined the 2nd Marines at Camp Lejeune, NC. He served on various assignments with the 2nd Marines including commanding a special force on a Navy cruiser in the Mediterranean. Afterwards, he was transferred to the Marine Barracks, Pearl Harbor as deputy commander Marine Police. He was then assigned to attend guided missile school at Fort Bliss, TX and later assigned to a classified guided missile development in the Mojave Desert at Inyokern, CA. Upon graduation, he was transferred to Korea and became Commanding Officer of a headquarters company at Camp Otsu in central Japan. Later, Bob was transferred and assigned as Advisory Officer at the Korean Marine Corps Officer's School in Busan (Pusan), South Korea. When his duty in Korea was completed, he was transferred to Washington D.C. as Liaison Officer to the Navy Department and over saw the purchasing of guided missile equipment. During this time he also designed and monitored construction of guided missile equipment and obtained a patent on a major handling device. After leaving the Marines, Bob joined the Baker Raulang Division of Otis Elevator in Cleveland, OH in 1955, as assistant chief engineer and was quickly promoted to marketing director. In 1959, in order to establish European operations, he joined the Cascade Corporation, Portland, OR, a company that manufactured specialized hydraulic components used by the fork lift industry. He was hired as the managing director of Jonker-Cascade but held many positions throughout his 20 year career with Cascade, including general manager, executive vice president, vice president of European operations, president of international operations and president of Cascade, Japan. In addition, he established various subsidiary companies in Europe, Canada, South Africa, Japan, Brazil and Australia during that time. He retired from Cascade at the age of 56. Bob had several other accomplishments that he was proud of throughout his life. He formed the CASA (Cleveland Aerospace Association). He became involved in photovoltaics and started a distributorship for Solarex Corporation, distributing photovoltaic panels. He wrote three books, two of which were published. From an early age, music was always a part of his life and he became an accomplished musician. He wrote numerous songs of which several were copyrighted. He directed the Naval Academy Glee Club and US Marine Chorus on a national broadcasting network as well as numerous choral organizations and church choirs. He obtained his pilot's license and was both commercial and instrument rated and owned two airplanes (one aerobatic). Bob was an avid golfer and joined Belleair Country Club in 1978 and was a member for 35 years. During that time, he was on the board of directors for seven years and served as its president in 2001. Services will be held with military honors at a later date at Bay Pines National Cemetery, St. Petersburg. www.mossfeasterclearwater.com

Funeral Home

Moss Feaster Funeral Home and Cremation Services
693 South Belcher Road Clearwater, FL 33764
(727) 562-2070

Published in the Tampa Bay Times on June 23, 2013
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