Rob Coles

PALMYRA, Virginia


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Rob Coles Rob Coles, 61, the fifth great-grandson of Thomas Jefferson, died in peace and grace at his home in Charlottesville, Virginia, on Tuesday, September 17, 2013. He was predeceased by his parents, Roberts Coles and Doris Rafferty Coles; and his brother, Edward J. Coles. He is survived by his beloved wife, Virginia Valentine Coles; his sisters, Margaret Coles Anderson and Caroline Coles Merrick, and their husbands, William J. Anderson and Dr. Randolph V. Merrick; and his brother, John Coles and his wife, Julia Evans Coles; his nieces and nephews, Charlotte Randolph Anderson, William Seth Anderson, Julia Fraley Coles, Peyton Evans Coles, Sloane M. Coles, Francis M Gehman, D. Coles Merrick, and Thomas A. Merrick; and sisters-in-law, Anne Willis Coles and Lydia Valentine Farley, George Coles Jr., many other loving cousins, and his many friends throughout the world. Rob was born on May 7, 1952. He grew up at Cloverfields Farm in Keswick, Virginia. He graduated from St. Christopher's School in Richmond, and was an alumnus of The University of Virginia. His unequaled portrayal of Thomas Jefferson lasted for over 35 years. He was nationally and internationally acclaimed, and brought joy and understanding to the thousands who came to hear him. He appeared on many national programs, including To Tell the Truth, and The Today Show. Rob was a friend to so many of us. We will miss his laughter, his goodness, and his kindness. He was a Gentleman in the finest tradition of the University. From the C&O to Timberlakes, from The University to Monticello, from "Rugby Road to Vinegar Hill", we salute you, Rob. We take comfort in the knowledge that Rob is now in the House of the Lord, and that he will make many friends there. A memorial service will be held at Grace Episcopal Church in Cismont on Sunday, October 13, 2013, at 4 p.m. Hill and Wood is in charge of arrangements. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to St. Luke's Church, Simeon, PO Box 694, Charlottesville, VA 22902-0694 or Caring for Creatures, 352 Sanctuary Lane, Palmyra, VA 22963.

This obituary was originally published in the Daily Progress.

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Just discovered that Rob passed. I met him at Colonial Williamsburg Labor Day weekend 1991. I saw him across a room and told him I was amazed how he captured the look of T.J. Looking down from his over six feet tall at my 5'8, he said, "My dear man I am the 5th great grandson of Thomas Jefferson," in ever so polite, genteel 18th century etiquette. I was so impressed, I became his promoter on the spot (never done promoting in my life) and lined up school performances in the Grand...

With sadness we read of Rob's death. We only met him a few times, but he was delightful to spend time with and Doris often talked about him.
We send our thoughts and condolences to the family. Fran & Tynker

Rob was great guy.
I saw him often in down town library.Always asked about my family. a real gentelman - he will be missed.
Jimmy Farmer.

May your kind spirit continue through the countless lives you've touched. What a great legacy. My condolences to the family. Find comfort in knowing that Rob's spirit had rejoined those who have gone on before him.

God bless and be with you Virginia for enriching Rob's life. For caring, understanding, loving him and being by his side along life's way.


Lynn Gallagher
The American Heritage Dictionary defines “Friend” as 1. A person attracted to another by feelings of affection or personal regard. 2. A person who gives assistance; patron, supporter...
Dearest friend, the dictionary does you not justice -
It remarks not your strength,
Hand clasping mine,
Holding fast in the storm,
Emerging out of chaos,
Attaining the summit,
Still in tandem with other-self.

Sis, Margaret and John, I am so very sorry to hear about Rob's passing! My heart goes out to you all and your family! much love- Lori Carle

Caroline and Margaret, I am so sorry to hear of your brother's passing. I know how well he was like in town and his portrayals of your famous ancestor will live on the minds of many people. He was a remarkable person. My deepest condolences to both of you and your entire family.

God bless Rob. One of the very first people I met upon moving to Charlottesville. He was always kind and upbeat. You will be missed. Mike Miller

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