Robert J. McWilliams (1944 - 2018)

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Service Information
Goble Funeral Home and Crematory, Inc. - Calrion
330 Wood St.
Clarion, PA

Robert J. McWilliams, 74, of Clarion died Monday, November 5, 2018 at UPMC Mercy following a courageous, year-long battle with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, A.L.S., or Lou Gehrig's disease.

Born September 19, 1944 in New Castle, he was the son of James R. and Mary (Krah) McWilliams.

He was a 1962 graduate of New Castle Senior High School, where he participated in many sports. He played baseball and was offered a contract by the Pittsburgh Pirates which he turned down in favor of college.

Mr. McWilliams married the former Shirley Wiant on October 23, 2003. He married his beloved at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Lucinda. Though having worked simultaneously in the Union School District for 28 years, they never met until October 2002.

He and Shirley resided on Jacks Mountain Lane along the Clarion River from May through October of each year and Dunedin, Fla. from November through April. In Dunedin, Bob worked for the Toronto Blue Jays during Spring Training games.

Mr. McWilliams earned his bachelor's degree in English from Gannon University in 1966, his master's degree in semantics from Edinboro State College in 1971, his master's degree in secondary school administration from Westminster College in 1975, and his Superintendent's Letter of Eligibility from Youngstown State University in 1980. He also earned innumerable in-service credits during his 37 years in public education.

He first taught English at the Canandaigua N.Y. Senior Academy from 1966 to 1969 and at the Girard (PA) Senior High School from 1969 to 1975. He then was named principal of Union High School in the Union School District in Rimersburg in 1975. He held that position as well as those of coordinator of federal programs, long-range planning and bus transportation until 1993 when he was selected as superintendent of the school district. He held the dual positions of superintendent and high school principal until his retirement in 2003. He could be found at every Union High activity and event that his schedule allowed. He was very proud of his Union Knights and Damsels and also of the yearly Veterans Day programs that he planned.

Mr. McWilliams enjoyed golf, reading and travel, but his true love was attending his grandchildren's school and college athletic competitions and other extracurricular activities with Shirley.

As well as being a member of St. Joseph Catholic Church in Lucinda and attending St. Cecelia Catholic Church in Clearwater, Fla., he was a Fourth-Degree member of the Knights of Columbus in Lucinda and a member of the Elks Club in Dunedin, Fla., the Eagles Club in Reynoldsville, the Sons of Italy in Bradys Bend, and the Fryburg Sportsman's Club in Fryburg.

He is survived by his daughters, Susan Dougherty and her husband, Brian, of New Bethlehem, and Stacy and her partner, Nicole Rabe, of Manhattan; his step-daughter, Stacy Best and her husband, Jason, of New Bethlehem; his grandchildren, Jacob and Rebecca Dougherty, Gregory Nolf, Marley Best and Max McWilliams; three sisters, Janet Metz of Austintown, Ohio, Ellen and her husband Bob Doane of Frederick, Md., and Mary Jane and her husband John Jones, also of Frederick, Md.; his brother, Jim and his companion Karen O' Dell of Port Ritchey, Fla.; 26 nieces and nephews; as well as his two sisters-in-law, Sandra and her husband John Hunsgate, and Sharon and her husband Bob Walker.

In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his beloved wife Shirley who died on August 18, 2018; Shirley's parents; his brother-in-law, Dennis Metz; his sister-in-law, Mimi McWilliams; his sister-in-law, Sheila and husband Phil Whitt; and his nephew, USMC Sgt. David Smith, killed in action in Afghanistan in 2010.

Arrangements are under the care of the Goble Funeral Home and Crematory in Clarion where visitation will take place on Sunday from 2 to 4 p.m. and 6 to 8 p.m. with a Christian Wake prayer service at 5:30 p.m.

Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Monday, November 12, 2018 at 10 a.m. at St. Joseph's Church in Lucinda.

Interment will be in St. Joseph's Cemetery.

Donations in Bob's memory may be made to the A.L.S. Association/Western Pennsylvania Chapter, 416 Lincoln Ave., Pittsburgh, PA 15209 (
Published in The Leader Vindicator from Nov. 7 to Nov. 15, 2018
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