Robert (Bob) Gayle was born 77 years ago in Baton Rouge. He was the second of three rowdy boys born to Frank R. Gayle and Elizabeth Holliday Gayle, both of whom passed away when Bob was a teenager.
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Bob began his university studies at Louisiana State University, alternating semesters between work and school to pay for his education. Bob spent time at the Catholic Student Center where he met and fell in love with Nancy Ann Wise who also had lost a parent as a teenager and was working at the Catholic Student Center to pay for her college education.
During their courtship, Bob's college years were interrupted with a draft notice which led him to honorably serve in the U.S. Army. During his military service, Bob and Nancy were married at Fort Bliss in El Paso, Texas.
After his discharge from the Army, Bob and Nancy moved to Lake Charles where he enrolled at McNeese State University, determined to earn a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics.
After graduating, Bob went to work for McDonnell Douglass and went on to establish a career working for IBM in Nassau Bay, Texas. During his tenure with IBM he worked on the NASA Apollo and Gemini projects, and for his significant contributions is honorably mentioned in the permanent display at the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum.
In 1978 he transferred to Austin, Texas, where he worked in IBM's Personal Software Products Division. After more than 25 years of service, Bob retired from IBM to become an entrepreneur and with his partners started Asia America Technology in Jakarta, Indonesia. Later he partnered with Bill Jackson to manufacture and import luxury leather goods from Argentina. During his long and adventurous career Bob traveled throughout the world making life-long friends in many countries.
Bob recognized the importance of education, family, and friends. He was known for his generous hospitality, inviting people over, making them feel immediately at home, and would likely have a drink in their hand before they could sit down. For many years he was famous for barbecuing mouth-watering platters of food knowing that folks would stop by. All were welcome in his home.
In his later years, Bob visited with many close friends during happy hour at Jack Allen's Kitchen and the Nutty Brown Café. Bob Gayle was a committed optimist, expert story teller, occasional prankster, and very often the life-of-the-party. He was determined to live well and large. He was rich in friends, loved by his family and will be dearly missed.
Bob is preceded in death by his parents, his brother Frank and his wife Carolyn, and his brother Toddy, and his ex-wife Nancy Gayle.
He is survived by his children and their families: David and wife Vicki, and daughter Emily; Ann and daughters Leah and Lauren; Katy and husband Steve; Mike and children Aspen and Hudson; and Mary and husband John with children Ryan and Kristen.
In lieu of flowers, Bob had asked for consideration to be given to the St. Vincent de Paul or Salvation Army charities.
Published in Southwest Daily News on June 12, 2012